People who develop good oral hygiene habits early in life stand a good chance of keeping their teeth later in life. Many believe that dentures are part of growing older, but this is simply not true. Studies have shown that maintaining a healthy mouth may keep your body healthier and help you avoid diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The best way to achieve good oral health is to visit your dentist for a cleaning at least twice a year.
Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristle brush, and remember to floss daily to remove plaque between teeth and below the gumline that your toothbrush cannot reach.
Here are typical problems common in older adults
- Gingivitis– Gingivitis is caused by the bacteria found in plaque that attack the gums. Symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen gums and possible bleeding when you brush. If you have any of these symptoms, see us immediately. Gingivitis can lead to gum disease if problems persist.
- Periodontal (gum) disease– Three out of four adults over age 35 are affected by some sort of gum disease. In gum disease, the infection becomes severe. Your gums begin to recede, pulling back from the teeth. In the worst cases, bacteria form pockets between the teeth and gums, weakening the bone. All this can lead to tooth loss if untreated.
- Dry mouth– Also called “xerostomia,” dry mouth is caused by improperly functioning salivary glands. This is often caused by disease, certain medications, or cancer treatment.
- Oral cancer– Oral cancer most often occurs in people over 40 years of age. If you notice any red or white patches on your gums or tongue, or sores that fail to heal within two weeks, contact your dentist immediately.