5 Tips on Improving Oral Health for Older Adults
In Australia, 21% of people over age 65 are edentulous. That means they have no remaining natural teeth.
It is absolutely imperative that you take good care of your teeth, otherwise the chances of ending up like this are very high. Gum disease and other issues that lead to tooth loss are highly preventable — but only when you take steps to prevent them.
Check out our top tips here for older adults interested in improving oral health.
1. Regular Dental Visits
Don’t skip your dental visits. We can’t emphasise this enough. Dentists can catch cavities, gum disease, and other issues early enough to resolve them and save your teeth. But they can’t do it if they never see you.
Plus, follow their advice for proper dental care at home. Brush twice a day for at least two minutes to prevent oral health issues from getting started. Don’t forget to floss to get those hard to reach areas.
2. Know the Impact of Systemic Illnesses and Medications on Dental Health
It’s also important to note that your oral health is interconnected with certain systemic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Talk to your dentist about your overall health because many conditions are linked to oral health that many people don’t realise.
Always tell your dentist about any medications you are taking. Some can have oral side effects such as losing your sense of taste or experiencing dry mouth. Taking multiple medications increases the risks of Dry Mouth, namely tooth decay and gum disease. It is important to recognise these interactions early so that they can be addressed appropriately.
3. Watch Your Diet
What you eat is a huge part of oral health. Food for healthy teeth encompasses all the foods that you should already be eating for overall system health. Dark green leafy vegetables and other calcium-rich foods such as milk, yogurt, and cheese should be staples in your diet. Top that off with phosphorus and other healthy nutrients found in fish, nuts, beans, and eggs and you will enjoy a healthier smile.
Stay away from sugary foods and damaging habits, such as chewing ice. Likewise, be careful with intake of acidic food and drinks. Acids can hide in even the healthiest of food such as fruit and fruit juices: have a chat to a dentist about how you can continue to enjoy their healthy food and drinks and minimise the acid issue at the same time.
4. Don’t Smoke
Smoking is horrible for your overall health and particularly bad for your mouth. Oral cancer is a very serious problem and smoking is one of its biggest risk factors. Smoking doubles your risk of developing gum disease. What’s more, smoking inhibits blood flow in your mouth, making it take longer for your gums to heal once your dentist begins treating your gum disease.
If you are a smoker, the single most important thing you can do for your health is quit.
5. Know the Impact of Untreated Gum Disease
Untreated gum disease leads to various problems such as:
- Tooth loss
- Bone loss in the jaw
- Loss of function for speaking and chewing
- Contributing to cardiovascular disease and other systemic illnesses
In other words, you really can’t afford to ignore your oral health.
Improving Oral Health with a Dentist
Now that you see how vital improving oral health is for healthy, happy golden years, it’s time to find a dentist you can trust. Contact us today to make an appointment at The Bondi Dentists. We are a dental practice dedicated to your best oral health and go the extra mile to ensure that all our patients feel at ease in our office. We look forward to hearing from you!