Many people 60 years and older no longer have their natural teeth due to disease, decay, and poor oral hygiene. You can help ensure the health and longevity of your teeth and gums. Older individuals can follow these five tips to improve their oral hygiene:
1. Brush and Floss Every Day – In order to reduce tooth decay and gum disease, brush teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Floss every day.
2. Be Careful with Starchy and Sugary Snacks – Candy, soda, iced tea, and other starchy or sugary foods and drinks greatly increase the risk of tooth decay. The teeth of older people are sometimes less resistant to decay due to the age of their teeth. Dentists suggest that you rinse your mouth or brush your teeth after consuming these types of foods and drinks.
3. Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol – Alcohol and tobacco are reported to increase the risk for oral and throat cancers. Reduce alcohol intake, and avoid using tobacco products altogether.
4. Check Your Mouth for Bumps and Sores – With increased age, the chance for gum disease and oral cancers increases. Check your mouth for any unusual bumps or sores and signs of oral disease. If you notice a bump or sore in your mouth, please contact your dentist or doctor as soon as possible.
5. Regular Dentist Visits – Older individuals should schedule regular check-ups with their dentist for cleanings and preventative care. Do not wait until you notice something unusual with your teeth or gums; oral health affects your whole body.