Stephan Baldwin is the Director of Business Development for Assisted Living Center, an online resource for aging care communities.
Is it possible to still have all your teeth when you turn 80? These days, the answer is yes. With the right attitude toward dental care, you can keep most or all of your teeth in good condition for decades longer than you might have thought.
Just follow these tips!
1. Maintain Dental Hygiene
Old assumptions that people just naturally lose their teeth as they get older are related more to health conditions, medication side effects and overall dental hygiene than simply age. Remember to brush, floss and use an appropriate mouthwash as directed by your dentist.
Basic dental hygiene like brushing and flossing is more important than ever as you get older.
2. Continue Getting Regular Checkups
Have a dental checkup every six months. If the prospect of heading to the dentist makes you nervous, find one with whom you feel comfortable. There are several ways your dentist can help to make you feel more comfortable while also receiving an excellent standard of care.
3. Pay Attention to Pain
Pain and sensitivity in teeth may seem like things that simply happen as you get older, but these symptoms are always worthy of exploration. A sore or sensitive tooth may have decay, cavities or even root decay. Prompt treatment from your dentist can help relieve pain and stop the problem from getting worse.
4. Follow Expert Advice
When your dentist or dental hygienist reminds you about flossing twice a day or using a special mouthwash, they are doing it for your health. Adults often don't like being told what to do, but following your dentist's advice is the best thing you can do for your teeth. Otherwise, you run the risk of facing painful and/or expensive procedures later on.
5. Consider Implants or Dentures
Many people need to have teeth removed for one reason or another at some point in their lives. The good news is that you may not need to have the same kind of dentures that people had decades ago. Ask your dentist about dental implants, which look and function much like regular teeth.
You'll appreciate the results of a little extra effort and care.
6. Receive Excellent Dental Care for Tooth Problems
When your dentist identifies a problem with one or more of your teeth, it is important that you take action as soon as possible. A cavity is relatively simple and minimally invasive to treat. Left alone for a long time, a cavity could create pain, infection or even cause the loss of the tooth. Addressing simple problems stops them from becoming complicated health conditions.
7. Discuss Related Health Concerns
As you get older, the likelihood of your coping with age-related health conditions (e.g., diabetes) increases. Many chronic conditions can affect the health of your teeth. Keep your dentist informed of your health problems so he or she can help you minimize your risk of facing related dental concerns.
8. Manage Dry Mouth
Dry mouth, another symptom people used to think was a part of aging, can cause you more teeth issues than you might expect. The American Dental Association argues that medications are a common cause of dry mouth, which can increase your likelihood of developing cavities. Discuss your current medications with your dentist and make a plan to treat dry mouth if it's something you experience.
9. Respect Your Gums
The American Heart Association notes that people with periodontal disease, often characterized by receding gums, have a number of risk factors for heart disease. As such, regular checkups with your dentist can help you determine if you should look for deeper problems under the surface.
Taking good care of your teeth takes time and care, but it is well worth it! Your healthy smile will be evidence of that.
Want to make sure you keep your teeth healthy and pearly white? Contact us today!