As we age, our oral health care becomes increasingly important. It is more
imperative than you may realize. Aging is a part of life, and it can come with an increased risk of health issues from within your mouth to throughout your body.
What Changes As We Age?
Given all the crunching, chewing, and biting our teeth do, they are bound to wear down over time. No matter how well we take care of our teeth, some significant changes may still occur.
Some examples are:
● Teeth Changes – Over time, you might see your teeth getting darker. That’s the aging dentin, the tooth’s middle layer, getting thicker and darker. At the same time, your tooth enamel thins, which makes it easier for the darker dentin color to show through. Additionally, staining from years of eating food, drinking coffee or tea, as well as smoking can lead to discoloration in your teeth.
● Gum Changes – Receding gums and shrinking jawbones are common issues we see as we age. As the gums pull away from your teeth, the roots of your teeth will be exposed and can cause sensitivity.
What Are The Risks?
A healthy smile can help you look great, eat delicious food, speak confidently, but most importantly, it can help your quality of life. Your dental health is closely linked to your overall health, and harmful bacteria on your teeth and gums can also lead to serious medical conditions.
Gum Disease – Gum disease has various symptoms, such as tooth loss, bone damage, and inflammation. In the early stages, your gums may bleed easily or become red, a disease known as Gingivitis. As the disease progresses, you can develop Periodontitis. Periodontitis is a severe form of gum disease. If left untreated, you may lose your teeth or need them to be removed by an oral hygienist.
Dry Mouth – Dry mouth, also known as Xerostomia, can be a major issue that often goes unnoticed in older adults. When there is a minimal amount of saliva to wash away bacteria and food particles in your mouth, your risk of infection increases. Some medications common to older adults can contribute to dry mouth as well. Diligently brushing and flossing your teeth combined with regular dental visits can decrease your risk of this condition.
Root Caries (Decay) – Root decay is a cavity that appears on the roots of your teeth. Unfortunately, these types of cavities can start and spread faster than others. They spread to the inside of the tooth, causing infections.Older adults are at a greater risk of this condition, so it’s important to ask your dental hygienist on ways to avoid the spread of root decay.
Heart Disease – Many of the causes of gum disease are similar to those of heart disease, like tobacco use and poor nutrition. Research has shown that systemic diseases, such as heart disease, have oral symptoms as well. If brushing your teeth can protect your heart, you might want to give it a try.
Tips For A Healthy Smile
Maintaining a healthy smile and mouth is essential to your oral health. Here are some dental care tips we’ve put together to help you maintain your oral health:
1. Brush at least twice a day – Taking care of your teeth is incredibly important. Don’t cut corners on brushing and flossing. Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride twice a day. It will help kill off bacteria that your toothbrush may miss! If you don’t feel like you’re brushing effectively, invest in an electric toothbrush.
2. Floss once a day – Flossing once a day can help pull food particles from
difficult areas of your smile. Food particles can deteriorate and cause bad
breath as well as attract bacteria.
3. Stay Hydrated – The dentist chair and your bathroom aren’t the only places you can take care of your teeth. Staying hydrated will help attack dry mouth head-on. Talk to your dentist about any medications that may be causing dry mouth. Using artificial saliva products or chewing sugarless gum can help too!
4. Calcium– Calcium is an important part of everyone’s diet, however, it is highly essential as we age. Calcium can help prevent bone loss or Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis in your jawbone can lead to your teeth becoming loose or falling out. It’s recommended to get around 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day from dairy foods or vegetables.
5. Visit your hygienist regularly for an oral exam – Visiting your hygienist
regularly is essential to maintaining a beautiful and healthy smile. Your
hygienist has years of schooling to help you take care of your oral hygiene, so communication with your dentist or dental hygienist is highly recommended. Make sure to discuss any irregularities you may notice!
6. Don’t wait until there’s an issue to see a dental hygienist – You should see your dentist about twice a year, but if you start noticing an issue or irregularity – GO! Individuals with ongoing dental concerns may need to see the dentist more often.
Now that you’ve gotten great tips for dental health care, what about your dentures? Just like your teeth, brush them to remove any food or plaque regularly. You can rinse your dentures with hand soap or a mild dishwashing liquid as well! Toothpaste can cause damage to dentures, so make sure you use mild cleaners. Remember to remove and rinse your dentures after you eat and soak them overnight. You don’t want any lingering bacteria to stick around!
Mobile Dental Care
Luckily, you won’t have to search for “dental cleaning near me” anymore. Dental care is done easier than ever with Smiles On Wheels. Instead of taking your day off to visit your dental hygienist; the hygienist comes to you.
Practicing good dental health across your lifespan will help you maintain a healthy smile and improve your quality of life. Your oral health is an investment, but it is worthwhile.
Keeping your gums and teeth healthy can help prevent bacteria from entering your bloodstream. Practicing good dental health across your lifespan will help you maintain a healthy smile and improve your quality of life. Your oral health is an investment, but it is worthwhile.
At Smiles On Wheels we provide services to our seniors in a fully equipped dental hygiene van that brings their scheduled appointment right to their home or facilities. Smiles on Wheels is a new and easy way of fulfilling the dental hygiene needs of clients with very minimal interruption in their daily life. Teeth are cleaned, scaled, whitened and sealed as the client can relax and watch a movie of their choice.
Smiles on Wheels provides Dental Hygiene care throughout the Greater Toronto Area. We are open from 10 am to 6:30pm, seven days a week. To book an appointment or for more information, call 647-969-0008 or visit www.smilesonwheels.com.