If you suspect that your smile may change with age, you are on the right track. Your smile becomes more vulnerable to cavities with age, and one of the reasons is because of a condition called dry mouth.
Dry mouth arises commonly as a side effect of prescription medications. Since healthy saliva flow is vital for a healthy mouth, it helps to stay well hydrated, avoid diuretics (caffeine, certain medications), chewing sugarless gum and mints, and if necessary, taking saliva drops. In addition to healthy levels of saliva, we encourage the following for a lifetime of good oral health:
–Use an ADA approved toothpaste with fluoride to keep your tooth enamel strong. Also, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect tooth enamel and gum health. Medium or firm bristles can contribute to receding gums and worn tooth enamel, especially if you are not gentle while brushing. When the bristles become worn, buy a new toothbrush (or toothbrush head, if you are using an electric toothbrush).
–Floss between teeth and along the gumline. This removes plaque and food particles in those places where your toothbrush can’t. Choose a flossing method that works most effectively for you: dental floss, dental picks, oral irrigators, etc.
–Clean your dentures daily just as you would your teeth and gums to maintain a healthy oral environment. Whether you have partial or full dentures, clean them daily using only cleaners designed for denture care. And finally, be sure to remove your dentures daily for the time period recommended by our dentist.
–Having annual professional dental cleanings and exams will support your daily efforts to keep your smile healthy. As you age, the nerves inside the tooth pulp become smaller and less sensitive, so you might not feel pain warning you about decay or gum disease. In addition to gum disease, we will also check for signs of oral cancer, which often go undetected because it doesn’t always cause pain until it has advanced.
–Dental checkups are most effective when we know which medications you are currently taking, including any over-the-counter medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements. It will also help us to know of any allergies you have, or any medical conditions you are being treated for. And finally, if you have dentures, please bring them in for your exam.
Dr. C.R. (Chip) Edwards, Jr. and our team in Sanford, Florida are here to help you maintain your oral health for a lifetime of smiles. If you have any questions, concerns, or need to schedule a visit, please call us at (407) 322.6052 today!