Keeping your smile into old age 10-01-2017

Growing older doesn’t have to mean losing your teeth and ending up with a gappy smile or a set of dentures. There are many steps you can take to maintain your oral health, and to manage some of the inevitable parts of getting older. Today we’d like to bring you a few or our tips to help you with some of the common problems experienced by our older patients.

Reduced dexterity

As well get older, many of us find our bodies just don’t work quite as well. We might lose some of our strength and dexterity. This can make simple day to day tasks difficult and uncomfortable at times. Some of our patients may find that they no longer have the strength or flexibility in their arms and hands to reach all of those difficult areas in their mouths when brushing. Missing areas can lead to plaque building up. This could cause tooth decay, resulting in the need for further treatment and support.

However, there are many aids available which can support you with this issue. Your dentist will be able to advise you on what is available and talk you through your options. A straight forward tool to try is that of the electric tooth brush. These brushes have thicker, easier to grip, handles. This makes them easier for some people to use as opposed to conventional brushes. In addition, their vibrating motion means that the work required on the part of the brusher is much reduced. It’s therefore much easier to keep those hard to reach areas super clean.

Medication side effects

Some of the health complaints we suffer as we get older result in us needing to take medications. These regular medications can have side effects: one of these can be a reduction in saliva production. We need a certain level of saliva in our mouths to protect our teeth from bacteria. Therefore, as our saliva level decreases, our risk of problems from tooth decay can increase.

There are a number of protects available, over the counter, which can alleviate this problem. Many of these contain a form of artificial saliva, which prevents your mouth from becoming as dry. It helps to keep harmful bacteria at bay, in the process protecting you from the increased risk of tooth decay.

Gum recession

Over time, our mouths change. Our gums recede as we get older, leaving more of our teeth exposed. This can cause sensitivity leading to pain and discomfort, particularly when we are brushing, or drinking or eating items that are particularly hot or cold. This discomfort may leave us tempted to reducing our brushing efforts, however it’s really important that we keep up our routines in order to avoid the risk of decay.

To reduce the discomfort caused by increased sensitivity, there are a number of products available. Specialist toothpastes and mouthwashes help to reduce the symptoms, and can provide protection for our teeth, alleviating the problem. Your dentist will be able to advise on products that you might like to try.

If you’re at all concerned about how you will manage your oral health as you become older, don’t hesitate to get in touch. One of our team at Burford Road will be pleased to talk through your concerns and offer advice and support about how to manage changes and any symptoms that may arise.