Since we started living healthier lifestyles and began visiting the dentist more, we can expect to hold onto most of our teeth well into our senior years. As we age it can become more difficult to keep our teeth healthy. Seniors tend to develop more cavities on the roots of their teeth than younger people. Medications may dry out their mouths, leading to gum problems and eventual loss of teeth. Bacteria from our mouths can cause infections leading to more serious problems. Dental hygiene is very important for everyone, especially seniors!
What are the best ways to practice good oral hygiene as we age?
- Visit your dentist regularly. Go for dental examinations and cleanings at least twice a year.
- Cut down on your sugar intake. Also be careful when eating food such as nuts. Older teeth tend to chip and break more easily than younger teeth.
- Up your calcium intake. It helps your bones and strengthens your teeth.
- Brush your teeth gently several times a day with a soft bristled toothbrush.
- Remember to floss every day!
For those with dentures, remember to clean them every day with the appropriate cleaners. Make sure you remove your dentures from your mouth for several hours each day. This keeps the lining of your mouth healthy.
A healthy diet is good for your whole body but the following foods can help improve the health of our mouth:
- Apples. They produce saliva in your mouth which helps to wash away bacteria.
- Leafy greens, especially spinach and kale. Low in calories, both are full of vitamins and minerals. They are also high in calcium, a bonus for your teeth.
- Carrots and celery. Crunchy and full of fibre, these two vegetables will increase saliva in your mouth and also act as scrapers, removing particles of food from your teeth. They’re also good for you!
October is National Dental Hygiene Month. Make an appointment with your dentist for your exam and cleaning. Ask for additional tips on keeping your mouth healthy. We’d all like a great smile. To read more on National Dental Hygiene Month, click here.