How to Maintain a Healthy Smile After 60
A healthy smile equals a healthy you! New research suggests that the health of your mouth mirrors the condition of your body as a whole. Maintaining that healthy smile is largely up to us, so follow these simple steps, and keep smiling!
Keep Your Mouth Hydrated
An astounding 500 medications and a few medical treatments list dry mouth among their side effects. It is also a symptom of a few diseases and dry mouth contributes to both cavities and gum disease. The best ways to avoid dry mouth are by drinking lots of water to keep the body hydrated in general and limiting dehydrating drinks like alcohol, coffee, and sodas.
Tasty helpers like sugar free gum or mints stimulate saliva production. But always be sure to mention your medications to your dentist, so she can best guide and treat you.
Regular Visits to Your Dentist
Since prevention is the best medicine, you can keep your teeth at their best with regular visits to the dentist. Periodic appointments can detect, prevent or treat gum disease, which left untreated, can destroy gums, bone, and ligaments resulting in tooth loss.
Your dentist can also catch early signs of mouth cancer, a concern that peaks in our sixties, although its occurrence is still relatively low. Staying on a regular maintenance schedule with your dentist will help ensure that these tooth problems don’t have to be a concern.
Teeth Whitening, Bonding, and Veneers
As we move into our sixties, our teeth become darker in color and more difficult to whiten. The change in color is due not only to years of staining that is now deeply embedded in the teeth, but also to changes in dentin below the enamel surface of our teeth.
If you want absolutely perfect teeth, bonding might be a better choice for you, or if you have spaces from shifting teeth, veneers could solve both cosmetic problems.
Dentures, Bridges, and Invisalign
Our teeth begin to shift as we get older, sometimes rotating, moving apart or even overlapping. We can meet these challenges with veneers or Invisalign, but remember that opting for Invisalign is a permanent choice for lifetime retention. If you already wear dentures or a bridge, follow the same rules of good oral health.
Diet and Sunscreen Lip Balm
A well-balanced diet will help provide the proper conditions to support your sparkling teeth. Healthy teeth and gums require adequate amounts of vitamin C, phosphorous, and calcium. If you avoid using tobacco products, and choose a lip balm with sunscreen, you can also help avoid the most common causes of mouth cancer.
Finally, Don’t Forget the Basics… Daily Oral Home Care
A daily regimen of brushing, flossing, and rinsing is even more important now that we’re at the age where we’re more prone to cavities. Dentists recommend brushing at least twice daily with a soft-bristle brush, using circular motions especially along the gum line; fluoride toothpaste is best. Follow with flossing around each tooth at least once a day. Top off your routine by rinsing with an anti-bacterial or anti-plaque mouthwash twice daily.
Keeping your mouth healthy only takes a few simple steps a day and reduces risk factors for heart disease and stroke, diabetes, and other common ailments. Brush, floss, rinse, get regular checkups, and eat a healthy diet. By maintaining a good environment for your pearly whites, you can preserve your lovely smile for a lifetime.
Were you aware of a connection between healthy teeth and overall well-being? Would you enhance your smile with cosmetic dentistry? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.