6 Tips for Maintaining Good Oral Health as You Age

How to Maintain Good Oral Health As You Age

We become more susceptible to various oral health issues and diseases as we age. Coronal caries, gum disease, dry mouth (xerostomia), and periodontitis are just some of the many oral conditions that can affect our mouth, teeth, and gums. With this in mind, it’s only fair that we start giving oral health more attention so that we can continue showcasing our perfect smile for years to come. Let’s have a look at six ways we can take better care of our oral health.


Brush and Floss Your Teeth Regularly

Maintaining good oral health as you age starts with the basics of regular oral hygiene—brushing and flossing regularly. These simple yet crucial practices are the foundation for preserving your oral health and preventing various dental issues that can arise over time. Ideally, you should be brushing your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day to reduce your risk of cavities, gingivitis, and other oral diseases. You should then follow it up with a flossing session to remove leftover plaque and other debris from your teeth and gums.

To ensure that you’re brushing and flossing your teeth properly, however, you need to use the right tools and proper technique. When it comes to brushing your teeth, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and make sure to brush with gentle, circular motions to clean the surfaces of your teeth. This way, you can avoid wearing down your teeth, enamel, and gums.

When selecting dental floss, choose one that works best for you. Dental floss comes in various types, and each one has its own set of advantages. If you’re looking for a versatile floss that glides easily between your teeth, waxed nylon floss is a good choice. If you’re looking for a floss that can effectively remove plaque, then a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) floss is what you need.


Add Mouthwash to Your Oral Hygiene Routine

Incorporating mouthwash into your oral hygiene routine can provide additional benefits for overall mouth health. It offers an extra layer of protection against oral issues and contributes to a fresh and clean feeling. There are several kinds of mouthwash available on the market, including antiseptic, fluoride, and those designed for sensitive teeth. If you want to know which mouthwash is best suited for you, consult your dentist. Keep in mind that mouthwash is most effective when used at the right time in your oral care routine. It’s generally recommended to use mouthwash after brushing and flossing, as it helps to reach areas that your toothbrush and floss might have missed.


Watch for Changes in Your Mouth, Face, and Neck

Regularly monitoring your mouth can help you identify potential medical issues early on, allowing for prompt intervention and prevention of more serious conditions. Pay attention to any unusual symptoms or changes in your mouth, such as persistent bad breath, bleeding gums, or changes in the colour of your teeth. These can indicate underlying issues that may require professional attention.

You should also perform regular self-examinations of your oral cavity, as well as your face and neck. If you notice or feel anything unusual in any of these areas, such as discoloured patches on the lining of your mouth or a lump under your ear, consult your dentist or family doctor so that they can make a thorough examination. If the condition is a dental problem or is localised, they may be able to prescribe you medication. However, if the treatment is outside their area of expertise, they may move your case to a specialist, like head and neck surgeon. This type of surgeon specialises in treating conditions that affect the mouth, jaw, and whole face. Some of the procedures they handle are parotidectomy and thyroidectomy, head and neck tumor removal, and removal of malignant and non-malignant skin lesions.

Changes in your jaw or bite can also affect your overall oral health. If you experience pain, hear clicking sounds, or notice any shifts in the alignment of your teeth, inform your dentist. These changes could be indicative of issues such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders that may require attention. By staying vigilant and proactive in monitoring changes in your mouth, you play a significant role in preventing the progression of dental issues.


Quit Smoking

Making lifestyle choices that promote overall health can directly impact your oral well-being. Quitting smoking, for instance, not only improves your overall health but also significantly reduces your risk of developing oral health issues, such as tooth discolouration, gum recession, and oral cancer. Quitting your vices, however, can be challenging. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources and support systems available to help you on your journey. You can consult with your healthcare provider or join smoking cessation programs to increase your chances of successfully quitting.

6 Tips for Maintaining Good Oral Health as You Age

See Your Dentist Regularly for Cleaning and Check-Ups

Regular dental check-ups are integral to maintaining good oral health. These appointments provide an opportunity for professional cleaning, thorough examinations, and early detection of potential issues. It’s generally recommended to visit your dentist every six months so that your dentist can properly monitor your oral health, address any concerns, and provide you with professional cleanings that remove plaque and tartar build-up. However, depending on your oral health, the number of annual visits your dentist will recommend may change.


Take Good Care of Your Dentures

If you wear dentures, proper care is essential to ensure they function well over time and help you maintain good oral health. Like natural teeth, dentures require daily cleaning so that they can be free from food particles, plaque, and bacteria. When cleaning your dentures, make sure to use a soft-bristled brush and clean them thoroughly. It’s also better to use a mild denture cleaner instead of toothpaste since toothpaste can be too abrasive and may damage the denture material. You should also soak your dentures in water or a denture cleaning solution overnight to keep them moist and maintain their shape. Soaking them in water also prevents your dentures from warping.

Moreover, if your dentures become damaged or ill-fitting, resist the temptation to perform DIY repairs, as home fixes can lead to further damage. Instead, consult your dentist for professional adjustments or repairs to ensure that issues with your dentures are properly addressed.

Even as we get older, it’s still essential for us to take excellent care of our oral health. By accommodating these tips into your routine, you can rest assured that your teeth, , gums, and mouth will be in great condition for years to come.