5 Tips For a Healthy & Bright Smile As You Age
Senior citizens face unique challenges in maintaining a healthy smile as they age. Few understand these issues better than Dr. Elliot and Dr. Nick at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistrywho specialize in cosmetic dentistry for senior citizens on Long Island.
Our Suffolk County cosmetic dentists truly sympathize with the physical pain and emotional suffering older patients with a lifetime of wear-and-tear on their teeth face. Their compassionate approach to dentistry and many years of experience have garnered a number of positive reviews online.
They tell patients that these five tips are the best way to achieve a healthy and bright smile as the years go on.
1. See a dentist every six months
We have seen great teeth in 90-year-olds and poor teeth in 20-year-olds, so it all just depends on a combination of genetics, home maintenance, and routine dental care. We do tend to see the start of oral health decline in people after 40, though. Seniors, in particular, tend to get more cavities along the gum line due to decreasing dexterity and dry mouth from medications. A full examination every six months will remove plaque and tartar buildup that lead to cavities and allow dentists to treat any issues that may contribute to oral health issues. Dentists are also often the first detectors of undiagnosed diabetes, heart conditions, stroke risk, and cancer.
2. Brush at least twice a day and floss once a day
Brushing removes surface-level bacteria that may otherwise cause tooth decay. As a person ages, receding gum lines expose more of the tooth root and old fillings loosen, making one more susceptible to gum disease and cavities. While brushing won’t prevent these occurrences, it is the best you can do as a counterbalance. A toothbrush can’t reach every space, so be sure to floss daily to hit the areas where decay and gum disease typically start.
3. Keep your mouth moist
Dry mouth is a common cause of cavities, since saliva does much to wash bacteria away from our teeth. Unfortunately, it’s a normal part of aging – and also a common side effect of over 500 medications including those for cholesterol, depression, high blood pressure, and allergies.
To keep the mouth moistened, the American Dental Association recommends:
- Using over-the-counter mouth sprays or washes
- Consulting your physician about the medication or dosage you’re taking
- Carrying a water bottle around with you and drinking more often
- Using sugar-free gum or lozenges to increase saliva
- Turning a humidifier on in the house
- Avoiding irritants like coffee, alcohol, sodas, and acidic fruit juices
- Asking your dentist about fluoride gels or varnishes that may protect your teeth
4. Eat a healthy diet
Recent studies indicate that certain foods help with oral health, including:
- Fresh cranberries – stops bacteria from bonding to form plaque
- Calcium-fortified juice & dairy – strengthens the teeth and bones to reduce the risk of tooth loss.
- Crisp, raw fruits and vegetables – increases saliva, cleans plaque from teeth, and freshens breath
- Raw onions – wipes out several strains of bacteria that cause tooth decay
- Wasabi – stops bacteria from sticking to the teeth
- Cheese – helps re-mineralize and protect teeth from degradation
- Raisins – fights bacteria with polyphenols and flavonoids
5. Quit smoking
This is a tip people really dislike hearing because most people know they should quit, but find it extremely difficult. Yet, consider this: Half the cases of severe gum disease are a direct result of cigarette smoking. Here are some other compelling reasons to make quitting a priority this year:
- Smokers are twice as likely to lose their teeth as non-smokers, according to Tufts University.
- The average pack-a-day smoker loses 2.9 teeth every decade.
- Smokers are twice as likely to need root canals, according to a study published in the Journal of Dental Research.
- An estimated 50 percent of adult smokers have gum disease.
- Smoking increases the risk of oral cancer by up to 30 times.
- Studies show oral health dramatically improves within just one year of quitting.
We are not here to nag. We’re here to help! Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot hope you will feel comfortable asking them about the latest technology and cosmetic dentistry services available.
Cosmetic dentistry for senior citizens on Long Island
Dr. Elliot and Dr. Nick at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry specialize in helping seniors with the most common oral health concerns, including: gum disease, receding gums, stained or worn teeth, denture comfort, loose teeth, and dry mouth. Call 631-246-4992 to schedule a free consultation today!.