If you desire a healthy smile for a lifetime, it is certainly within reach. In fact, maintaining oral hygiene habits for good oral health is important as you age, because as you age, the higher your risk for cavities and gum disease.
Dry mouth is a common side effect of taking prescription medications, and healthy saliva flow is vital for a healthy oral environment. Saliva levels can be stimulated by staying hydrated, avoiding diuretics, chewing sugarless gum and mints, and if necessary, saliva drops may be prescribed.
What is the most important step you can take to protect your oral health? Very simply, it is to practice excellent ongoing oral hygiene habits. Clean your pearly whites every day using ADA-approved products which are proven to be both safe and effective. Read on to find out how to maintain your healthy smile for years to come:
We recommend ADA approved toothpaste to keep your tooth enamel strong. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to protect tooth enamel as well as your gum health. Medium or firm bristles can contribute to receding gums and worn tooth enamel, especially if you are not gentle while brushing. Your toothbrush head should fit comfortably in the mouth so it can reach all tooth surfaces. When the bristles become worn, buy a new toothbrush (or toothbrush head, if you are using an electric toothbrush).
Another indispensable step is to floss between teeth and along the gumline to remove plaque and food particles where a toothbrush is unable to reach. Any flossing tool works, so choose one that works most effectively for you: dental floss, dental picks, oral irrigators, etc. are all good choices.
Just like your teeth, dentures require daily cleaning as well. No matter whether you have partial or full dentures, clean them daily using only cleaners designed for denture care. And finally, remove your dentures daily for the time period recommended by our dentist.
To support your daily efforts, we recommend professional dental cleanings and checkups, typically twice a year unless you have gum disease, then more frequent visits may be advised. As you age, the nerves inside the tooth pulp become smaller and less sensitive, so you might not feel pain warning you about tooth decay or gum disease. We will also check for signs of oral cancer, which often go undetected because it doesn’t always cause pain until it has advanced.
When you come in for your checkup, please let us know which medications you are currently taking, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements. It will also help us to know of any allergies you have, or any medical conditions you are being treated for. And finally, if you have dentures, please bring them in for your exam.
Dr. Paul L. Evans and our team in Grass Valley, California are here to help you maintain your oral health for a lifetime of smiles. If you have any questions, concerns, or need to schedule a visit, please call us at 530.273.4442 today!