You’re never too old to practice good oral health habits. Yes, you are probably are like most people who didn’t do everything right and getting to a healthy mouth is often a lot of work. But the upside is being able to have confidence in your smile, not worry about dental needs, be understood when you speak, and eat what you want make it all worthwhile. There are some things to keep in mind as we age:
Make sure you don’t suffer from dry mouth
Saliva fights the bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. It also makes it easier to chew, swallow, and digest food. Unfortunately, many medications list causing the mouth to be dry to be a side effect, so older Americans tend to lack sufficient saliva. Fortunately, your dentist can recommend products that will provide artificial saliva.
You don’t have to settle for discolored teeth
Over time, we all find that our teeth become stained, whether it is due to red wine, coffee, tea, or the side effects of medications. The dentin that is the layer of the tooth just below the enamel on the surface often turns yellow and might show through. Old root canals can seem dark. But aside from brushing right after you eat or drink anything with a strong color, you can have professional teeth whitening done in our office (much more effective than over-the-counter strips). If that is not an adequate solution for your needs, ask about placing dental veneers on the fronts of some teeth.
Wear and tear can be repaired
Over time, teeth get worn down. If you’ve had a lot of stress in life, you may be grinding your teeth at night. We can protect those that have been worn with onlays (like large fillings) or crowns (which cover what remains of an entire tooth. We will also provide you with a customized mouthguard to wear at night to prevent further damage.
Keeping Your Natural Teeth is Priority 1
As we age, most of us have lost some of our teeth, either from trauma (like a sports or car accident) or from neglect of our overall periodontal health (the teeth, gums that hold them in place, and the underlying jawbone). With a third of Americans not seeing a dentist even once a year, it’s no wonder that 69% aged 35-44 have already lost at least one tooth; by the time they are over 74, 26% have no natural teeth. The most important thing you can do to beat those odds is to be really dedicated to prevention: your oral health is literally in your hands and your dental team can demonstrate how to brush and floss right.
But if you do lose some or all of your natural teeth, dental technology can now provide you with excellent solutions, from a complete set of implants to comfortable dentures. Ask about the options that would be best for you.