How to Look After Your Teeth After 60
Keeping up with your dental hygiene can be tricky in our busy, modern lives. Maintaining teeth and gums’ health can feel like an uphill battle. However, with the right preventative steps, maintaining good oral hygiene doesn’t have to be such a struggle.
As we get older – and especially as we pass 60 – it’s common to start to worry more about the state of our teeth and gums. However, maintaining a healthy smile is not only important in terms of oral hygiene, but it can also help to improve your overall health as well.
So, how can we ensure that our teeth are being taken care of and what steps should you be taking to make sure that trips to the dentist aren’t something you dread? Below, I’ve outlined five simple ways that you can take to look after your teeth after 60.
Maintain Your Cleaning Regime
My first tip is a basic but important one. Sticking to a regular cleaning regime is one of the most important factors for maintaining good dental health. Make sure that you’re brushing your teeth at least twice per day.
There’s a bit of debate around whether brushing your teeth before or after you eat is better – and it’s often dependent on the type of food you’ve eaten – although, it’s widely accepted that the safest rule is to brush before you eat.
However, if you feel that you need to brush your teeth after eating then you can still do so, but The American Dental Association recommends waiting between 30-60 minutes after eating before brushing.
As well as regular brushing, rinsing your mouth with fluoride mouthwash also helps to look after your teeth. Fluoride helps to fight cavities and prevent tooth decay. It’s found in most mouthwash products, as well as in a lot of normal bottled water, so have a look at the ingredients label and rinse your mouth with the liquid once a day.
While a regular brushing and mouthwash regime is important, these can only do so much. Alongside these, try to make sure that you’re flossing your teeth as well. Flossing helps to remove plaque and tartar build-up from in between your teeth, an area that’s hard to reach for a toothbrush. Try to do this once a day if you can and you’ll reap the rewards in the long run.
Keep Up with Your Dentist Visits
The best way to avoid the dread of having to go to the dentist is to keep up with regular visits. Check-ups every six months will play a significant role in keeping your teeth and gums healthy and will help to avoid the need for more extensive treatment.
Don’t wait until something hurts to call your dentist or book an appointment online. As we pass 60, the nerves in our mouth lose some of their sensitivity, which means that even a small pain in a tooth could be the sign of something more serious. Visiting your dentist every six months will help to catch any potential issues before they escalate.
While you’re at the dentist, it’s also worth investing in professional teeth cleaning. Getting a check-up from your dentist is vital in looking after your dental health; however, while you’re there, a professionally performed cleaning session will really help to keep your teeth healthy.
Having this done every six months will play a big role in helping to prevent unwanted issues from cropping up in the future.
Invest in Dental Care
Teeth are strong, but wear and tear are inevitable, and sometimes the need for treatment is unavoidable – despite the best efforts of our regular cleaning regimes. If you’re in the position where your dentist has recommended that you undergo a dental treatment, don’t put it off.
Investing in a restorative treatment like dental implant surgery might feel daunting, but this will really help to ensure that you don’t need to undergo further work in the future.
The costs of dental care can be a barrier to treatment for many. In fact, studies have shown that nearly 25% of over 65s haven’t seen their dentist in the last five years. If you find that prices for treatment are out of reach, then consider travelling abroad.
Some of the most renowned dentists are based at clinics throughout Europe, where prices are also usually substantially lower than the UK or US.
Cut Down the Bad Habits
Nothing will play a bigger role in helping to look after your teeth after 60 than cutting down on bad habits like smoking and alcohol intake. Reducing your tobacco intake will significantly decrease your risk of developing oral cancer.
The average age for patients being diagnosed with oral cancer is 60 and with the initial signs of this cancer often easy to miss, it’s especially important that you do all you can to reduce the risks.
Alongside cutting down the bad habits, it’s important to keep an eye on any signs that could potentially point to the development of oral cancer.
Things such as a mouth sore that doesn’t heal, teeth that are loose, pain or difficulties swallowing, and a white or red patch inside your mouth, can all potentially be symptoms of oral cancer. If you notice any of these, get it checked with your dentist as soon as you can to ensure it’s nothing serious.
Keep Dentures Clean
Unwanted bacteria can stick to dentures in the same way as they do with real teeth. Therefore, it’s really important to make sure that you clean them at least once every day. Use special denture cleaning products for this and avoid cleaning them with regular toothpaste as this can be too abrasive and may potentially damage the dentures.
Another important point is to take your dentures out for a few hours each day. This can help to keep the lining of your mouth healthy. You should certainly take them out at night. However, you can always get more specific guidance on this from your dentist, who will be able to provide more advice based on your individual situation.
What teeth issues have you suffered lately? Have you noticed changes in your teeth’s health after 60? Did retirement change your teeth routine and frequency of dentist visits? Please share what you do to keep your teeth healthy.