Dental Hygiene As You Age

Good dental hygiene and oral care habits are important at any age. As you get older, it’s important to think about your dental routine and if it needs some tweaking – because certain life changes can cause changes in your mouth. Whether you have all of your original teeth, some of them, or a full set of dentures, caring for your mouth is just as important when you get older as it was when you were a kid.

Fluoride isn’t just for children. Even if you’re over 50, it’s still important to protect the surface of your teeth and prevent decay. It’s important to note that older individuals have an increased risk for cavities, making it especially important for you to make sure fluoride is a part of your daily routine. When brushing, twice a day, use a fluoride toothpaste. If you are particularly concerned about cavities or have had a few as you’ve aged, we encourage you to get an in-office fluoride varnish treatment for the added level of protection.

As you get older you may start to notice your mouth becoming dryer. Certain features of aging, such as more regular medications or a chronic condition, can increase your risk for dry mouth which also correlates with an increase in cavities or decay. If you suffer from dry mouth, there are a few improvements you can make to your dental hygiene to reduce your symptoms. You can use a moisturizing mouthwash or spray (Biotene), or chew sugar-free gum or gum sweetened with Xylitol, which encourages the production of saliva. You can also consult your doctor if your dry mouth is caused by medication. Adjusting your dose or trying a new medicine can help alleviate certain symptoms.

Whether or not you have all of your real teeth, gum disease remains a big concern among older individuals. A study published in the Journal of Dental Research found that nearly 64 percent of adults over age 65 had severe or moderate periodontitis in 2009 and 2010. Although it’s common, gum disease doesn’t have to be a cost of getting older. Maintaining good dental hygiene and seeing us at Hannon and Sandler regularly will help you prevent it or treat it quickly.

Your age does not have to show in your teeth! Be sure to see us regularly at Hannon and Sandler for all your check up needs, young and old!