As we get older, oral health can decline significantly. Just some of the dental conditions those 65 years or older face include untreated tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer. Here are three tips from the American Dental Association for heading off common dental problems that come with age:
1. Brush twice a day
It is essential to brush teeth twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, as well as clean between the teeth with floss or another interdental cleaner once a day to remove dental plaque. Flossing is also important for older adults, as gum tissue between teeth often shrinks, leaving bigger gaps for food to get stuck. Seniors can ward off bad breath by brushing the tongue with a toothbrush after cleaning the teeth to remove bacteria.
2. Visit the dentist regularly
Seeing a dentist for annual checkups is imperative. During the visits, the dentist can look for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, or oral cancer. Additionally, during the examination, the dentist can make sure denture wearers have dentures that fit properly. Ill-fitting dentures can lead to pain, discomfort, and issues with speaking and eating. The ADA also recommends having X-rays done to give the dentist a comprehensive assessment of your mouth’s health. However, adults who properly care for their teeth and have no symptoms of oral disease or cavities can go two to three years between bitewing X-rays, according to the ADA.
3. Cut down on sweets
Older adults should try to limit their indulgences in sweets, as the more times teeth are exposed to sugar, the more opportunities there are to feed harmful bacteria that can cause tooth decay. Limiting soda is also encouraged, as the acids in soda can erode tooth enamel, causing tooth decay.
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