As we get older it’s good to remember that maintaining good oral health is vital to having a healthy smile and optimal overall health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), oral pain, difficulty eating due to missing teeth, ill-fitting dentures, cavities and gum disease are all signs of oral health problems in aging adults.
Oral Conditions As You Age
There are oral conditions that you are more prone to as you get older. Some of them are:
- Dental caries. Dental caries, also known as tooth decay is one of the main causes of tooth loss.
- Periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting your teeth.
- Dry mouth. When your salivary glands don’t work properly, the amount of saliva in the mouth decreases, resulting in dry mouth, which can lead to decay. Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are the most common cause of dry mouth.
- Oral cancer. Oral cancer is typically painless in its early stages but can become painful as it spreads. You should go to your dentist immediately if you notice any of the following: changes in the way your teeth fit together; oral sores that bleed easily or won’t heal; lumps, thickening, rough spots or crusty or eroded areas in your mouth; or difficulty swallowing, chewing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue.
How To Maintain Your Oral Health As You Age
There are several things you can do as you age to help maintain your oral health. Some of those things are:
- Avoid tobacco, this can put you at risk for periodontal disease and oral cancer. Also try to limit alcohol, this too can put you at risk for oral cancer.
- Drink fluoridated water and use fluoride toothpaste to protect against decay.
- Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled brush for two minutes at least twice a day. Also, floss between your teeth at least once a day. If you wear dentures, brush them every day to remove food particles and plaque. It’s also a good idea to brush your gums, tongue and the roof of your mouth to stimulate tissue circulation and remove plaque.
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year. Even if you don’t have teeth, visit your dentist regularly. Denture adjustment and oral cancer screenings are a part of your routine visits.
Arthritis And Oral Health Care
Is arthritis making it difficult to brush your teeth? You can try securing your toothbrush to a wider object like a ruler, or you can try an electric toothbrush.
If you live in the Englewood Colorado area and would like to set up an appointment, please give us a call today at 303-781-0624. Or you can click the link on the side bar to schedule an appointment.