There are many changes that come along with aging. Hearing and vision problems are among the most common ones. But while taking care of one aspect of your health, you may be ignoring some very important changes taking place elsewhere – in your mouth, for example.
Your oral health is very prone to age-related changes which, if left unattended, could be setting you up for some serious health problems.
Your oral health is linked to heart disease: It may not be obvious, but what goes on in your mouth can impact your heart. Numerous studies have pointed to the fact that gum disease may trigger heart disease. This is because the low grade inflammation in your mouth can contribute to plaque formation within the arteries. This inflammation also increases your risk of stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and some forms of arthritis.
You should avoid dry mouth: Saliva plays a crucial role in the remineralization process in your mouth which helps keep your teeth strong and healthy. Dry mouth is a common side effect in seniors taking many different medications. Unfortunately, this condition puts you at risk for tooth decay as well as other oral health issues. To combat this, it’s advised that seniors increase their water intake and use a nighttime rinse.
Invest in a good toothbrush: With many muscle, bone, and joint problems seniors face, brushing teeth with a traditional toothbrush can be a challenge. It is recommended that seniors opt for an electric toothbrush to ensure proper care for their teeth and gums.
Increase fluoride: Using a fluoride toothpaste is much more effective for protecting teeth and gums than using a fluoride mouthwash alone.
Be mindful of your diet: What you eat can play a big role in your oral health. Seniors often don’t get enough calcium or vitamin D, which are necessary to keep teeth strong. Aside from monitoring your calcium and vitamin D intake, it’s also important to reduce your sugar consumption as it increases the risk of cavities and rotting teeth.
Go see your dentist: Regardless of whether you have dentures or not, you should be seeing a dentist regularly as they can spot changes in your oral health early on before complications arise. Your dentist can ensure that your dentures are fitting properly and check for oral cancer signs, too.
As you can see, proper oral care is essential for healthy aging. By following these recommendations, you can keep your teeth and gums strong.