As we age the fine lines of our character etch our faces, our bodies sag a little more, and our hair goes grey. Our teeth experience the aging process in different ways; the enamel can wear down or our mouths can dry out from medications.
Our culture places a great deal of weight on a strong, healthy smile. Is there a way to have the same smile at 60 as we did at 20 years old?
Going Back to the Basics
The everyday wear and tear on teeth can take a toll as the year’s progress. The enamel, which is the hard white outer layer of the teeth can gradually wear away and the pointed tops of our back molars can flatten out. All of these effects can be delayed if we just practice the basics of tooth maintenance:
- Reduce wear and tear on your teeth by avoiding super hard foods. For example, it might be best to skip chewing on ice as you get older.
- Keeping your gums healthy is good for your teeth and the underlying structures, but also good for your overall health. Bacteria forming on the teeth and gums can actually lead to cardiovascular disease, not to mention potentially damaging your teeth and gums. If your teeth are loose or they bleed when you brush your teeth, contact Dr. Hadley.
- As you age, the naturally occurring saliva in your mouth dries up. Too, the various medications you may be on might cause problems with saliva production. Why does that matter? Your saliva is the body’s way of flushing bacteria off the teeth. To combat these negative effects, drink more water and chew sugarless gum to promote saliva production.
- One of the things we hear often from our adult patients is that over time their teeth can grow more sensitive. Drinking or eating hot or cold liquids can cause a great deal of pain. We often recommend sensitive toothpaste to help lessen this problem.
- Watch closely for signs of cancer in your mouth, throat, skin, and lips. Cutting back or quitting smoking or chewing tobacco, staying out of the sun, and even using sunscreen on your lips in the summer, can all lower your risk.
Finally, it’s very important to practice the normal oral hygiene techniques we recommend for all of our patients, including:
- Flossing the teeth at least once per day.
- Avoiding sugar or high-acid foods.
- Brushing with a good-quality soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Rinsing with mouthwash once a day.
- Seeing Dr. Hadley and his team twice a year for a cleaning and exam.
Today, good oral hygiene can aid in keeping you healthy throughout all the stages of your life. Keeping your teeth well into your later years is not only desirable – it’s possible if you follow the rules of good oral hygiene. Contact Dr. Hadley and our team to schedule your next appointment to keep looking and feeling your best for a lifetime.