If you think you won’t need to keep up with your annual visits to the dentist after you reach age 65, think again. Thanks to improved dental care throughout their lifetimes, more and more older adults are keeping their natural smiles well into their retirement years. Plus, protecting your oral health as you age will also benefit your overall well-being.
Good dental hygiene habits are the foundation of good oral health at any age, and this is certainly true for older adults, as well. Brushing twice a day and flossing every day are just as important for seniors as they are for teenagers.
Additionally, older adults should continue to see their dentists for exams and cleanings every six months. Regular exams also give the dentist an opportunity to detect oral cancer at an early stage, and a patient’s risk of developing oral cancer increases with age.
Older patients can have some unique age-related oral health needs, also, so it is important to work with your dentist to develop a plan to address these problems if they arise. Most notably, increased medication use can create oral health problems. This is because many medications have dry mouth as a side effect. The saliva plays an important role in clearing away oral bacteria, so a patient with dry mouth may have more oral bacteria, increasing the risk of decay and gum disease.
If you have problems with dry mouth, your dentist may recommend an artificial saliva substitute, as well as an anti-bacterial mouthwash to reduce the presence of oral bacteria.
Thanks to modern dental care, many older patients now are able to keep their own teeth rather than turn to dentures. Following a thorough oral hygiene routine at home and keeping routine appointments with your dentist can help you keep your teeth and gums healthy and reduce your risk of tooth loss. Contact the office of Dr. John Withers at (940) 293-2635 to make sure that you are doing everything possible to preserve your smile.