Your habits, favorite foods and friends may change as you age, but one thing that should never go away is good oral health. Consistent brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist can keep your smile healthy for a lifetime.
Learn what else you can do to maintain your healthy smile as you age!
1. Brush Daily
When you start to get older, there are many changes that can occur in your smile. Some of these changes are natural and can’t be avoided, but others are preventable with regular dental care. Brushing daily, flossing, using mouthwash and visiting the dentist on a regular basis will help to keep your smile healthy for a lifetime.
It’s important to brush your teeth with a fluoride containing toothpaste that has been awarded the ADA seal of approval twice per day for two minutes each time. This will remove plaque buildup, avoid gum disease and cavities, and keeps your natural teeth strong.
Another element to maintain is a healthy diet. Avoiding sugary foods and drinks will reduce the amount of acid in your mouth that can cause tooth decay. Additionally, avoiding chewing on ice and other hard foods will also protect your teeth. Flossing daily will remove food traps between your teeth and regular mouthwash will kill bacteria that causes bad breath.
2. Floss Daily
It’s the little things that add up to a bright, healthy smile. One of the best things you can do for your teeth is to floss daily. It’s the only way to remove all of the gunk that builds up between your teeth.
Regular flossing helps reduce the risk of gum disease and can help prevent tooth loss. It also helps with bad breath and prevents the buildup of plaque, which can lead to tooth decay.
There are many different kinds of dental floss on the market today. Choose the type that works best for you, and stick to a consistent flossing routine. Nylon floss is available waxed or unwaxed and comes in a wide variety of flavors. For optimal results, gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, going under the gum line. Be careful not to snap the floss, as it can cut or bruise your gum tissue.
3. Visit Your Dentist Regularly
A beautiful smile not only improves your appearance, but it also boosts self-esteem and makes a great first impression on others. A healthy smile is an investment that will last a lifetime, so it’s important to do what you can to take care of it! Take your children or siblings to a dental clinic to see if they need headgear or any orthodontic intervention while they are kids.
During a regular dental visit, your hygienist will clean and examine your teeth for small problems that may not be visible to the naked eye. For example, a cavity hiding between teeth or a loose filling. Your hygienist will also monitor the condition of your gum tissue for signs of disease or recession.
By visiting your dentist regularly, you can keep small problems from turning into big ones down the road. This includes tooth decay, gum disease, impacted wisdom teeth, and more! Getting the care you need early on will save you time, money, and hassle in the future. So remember to brush, floss, rinse with mouthwash, and schedule your routine cleanings.
4. Eat Healthy Foods
Eating healthy foods is a must for maintaining a strong, healthy smile. Foods high in calcium and protein help to strengthen teeth and prevent gum disease. Limiting sugary foods and drinks is also beneficial, as they can cause tooth decay.
Drinking water is the best thing you can do for your oral health as it helps to flush teeth and discourages tooth decay. However, it is important to only drink tap water that has the recommended amount of fluoride. Bottled water may have lower amounts of fluoride or none at all, making it less helpful to your oral health.
5. Stay Hydrated
It may sound obvious, but staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your oral and overall health. It keeps saliva flowing, which helps prevent dry mouth, removes lingering food particles and dilutes acid produced by bacteria that can wear away at tooth enamel, leading to cavities.
Older adults are more susceptible to dehydration, which can cause a variety of symptoms including confusion, headaches, fatigue and a dry mouth. Persistent dehydration can also lead to serious complications such as stroke, kidney disease, heart failure, dementia and diabetes.
If drinking a glass of plain water becomes boring or unappetizing, try adding sliced cucumber or lemon to your drink or sipping on warm broth or coffee. Just be sure to avoid beverages with added sugar and caffeine, which can actually have a dehydrating effect. Sticking to a recommended daily amount of 64 ounces of fluids should help you avoid the risk of dehydration.
6. Avoid Tobacco
It is a well-known fact that smoking tobacco products harms the body. However, few people are aware that it also damages your teeth and gums. The chemicals found in cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco (like chewing gum) stain the enamel of your teeth – making them yellow or brown. This makes them less attractive, and the stains are harder to remove with dental treatments like professional tooth whitening.
Smokers also experience poor healing after a dental procedure because nicotine interferes with the body’s blood flow. Additionally, smoking can cause the gums to recede and lead to gum disease – which can expose the roots of your teeth and make them more vulnerable to decay.
If you are a smoker, talk to your doctor or dentist about ways to quit. They may be able to recommend nicotine gum or patches to help you manage cravings, and they can also prescribe medications that will aid in your withdrawal.
7. Stay Active
Studies have shown that smiling can help lower stress levels, boost the immune system and make you feel better about life. Adding smiles to your daily routine can also help you look healthier and younger.
A healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of oral health problems such as gum disease. Regular exercise, a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight can all contribute to the overall health of your mouth.
Staying active can be as simple as taking a walk in the park or as involved as a high-intensity workout. The amount of physical activity you need can vary based on your physical abilities, but it is important to find an activity that you enjoy and stick with it to reap the benefits.
Trying to make smiling a habit can be challenging, but there are ways you can help yourself get in the mood, such as writing down people or places that make you happy on post-it notes and placing them in visible locations, or simply smiling when someone walks by. It may be a little weird at first, but after a while you will start to notice that smiling feels good and can make you look even better!
8. Get Regular Checkups
Getting regular dental checkups is one of the best things you can do to maintain your smile. This prevents many oral health problems, including tooth decay and gum disease, which can be much more serious if left untreated.
It also helps to catch potential issues, such as gingivitis or a tumor, early on so that they can be addressed quickly and easily. This is a great way to save money on more expensive treatments down the line.
Additionally, your dentist can also help you address cosmetic concerns, such as stained or misaligned teeth. This may include using professional whitening or veneers, which can improve the appearance of your smile without needing any extra care outside of your regular brushing and flossing routine.
9. Schedule an Appointment Today
Whether you schedule an appointment in person, by phone, email, or text, make a point to enter it into your calendar as soon as you have an agreement with the contact. This gives you a permanent record of your scheduled time, and it makes it easier for you to manage your other commitments. It also helps to ensure you won’t forget the appointment altogether. Try to leave a bit of wiggle room in your schedule, too. This allows you to end the appointment early if it turns out that you need to. Otherwise, it’s easy for the appointment to unnecessarily stretch out throughout your entire day!