Through the years, your teeth get a lot of use. It’s important to take time for good dental hygiene while you’re young and becomes even more important as you age. Keeping healthy teeth can help you avoid dentures, prevent many dental problems, and even improve the quality of your overall health.
Medical studies have found that tooth decay is linked to serious medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, but taking good care of your teeth can help you avoid these conditions as you age. To keep teeth healthy and looking great as you age, here are a few tips for aging adults that can help you optimize your oral health.
Eat for Healthy Teeth
You already know that eating healthy is important, but you may not realize that your teeth and their surrounding structures need the proper nutrition to stay healthy. Some of the vitamins and minerals that you need for healthy teeth include iron, phosphorus, vitamin D, calcium, vitamin A, protein and vitamin C. Eating foods high in these nutrients can help you improve your overall health as well. Foods rich in these essential nutrients include:
- Iron — liver, beef, turkey, eggs, oysters, pumpkin seeds, clams
- Phosphorous — cottage cheese, turkey, broccoli, chicken, peanut butter
- Vitamin D — tuna, cheese, yogurt, beef, egg yolks, milk, mackerel
- Calcium — kale, cheese, milk, collard greens, yogurt
- Vitamin A — leafy green veggies, carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes
- Protein — eggs, beans, chicken, pork, beef, cheese, fish
- Vitamin C — pineapple, oranges, white potatoes, strawberries, snow peas
Dry Mouth As You Age
Dry mouth is a common problem that comes with aging, and many medications for health conditions, such as heart disease, can make dry mouth even worse. Unfortunately, dry mouth can result in tooth decay, since saliva is essential for washing away dangerous bacteria that cause tooth decay. If you’re dealing with dry mouth, sugarless candies or gum can help increase the saliva in your mouth. You can also talk to your dentist about sprays that can help your mouth produce more saliva to treat dry mouth and keep teeth healthier.
Brush and Floss to Prevent Gum Disease and Tooth Decay
Since poor oral health can increase your risk of stroke or heart attack as you age, you need to brush and floss regularly to prevent tooth decay, gum disease and other health problems. You should be brushing a minimum of twice daily. What’s more, brushing after every meal is an excellent idea that can ensure you remove bacteria and food particles from your teeth. Regular brushing isn’t enough. You also need to add flossing to remove bacteria and food particles that can’t be reached by your toothbrush.
Deal With Staining
Teeth become even more susceptible to staining as you age. Over time, coffee, colas, juices, teas and certain foods can all result in tooth stains. The aging process also causes enamel on your teeth to become thinner, which can cause yellowing. Removing the stains on your teeth can offer whiter, brighter teeth, making you look younger. Just make sure you talk to your dentist about the best whitening option for your needs.
Schedule Routine Dental Checkups
Many aging adults tend to stop their routine dental checkups, but routine dental checkups are just as important as regular brushing and flossing. When you visit the dentist regularly, your dentist can spot any changes that may be occurring in your mouth before you could feel or notice them on your own. Those biannual checkups can help you prevent oral health problems and catch any problems while they’re still easy to treat.
The aging process results in changes in your body, including your gums and teeth. However, by following a few tips — such as getting essential nutrients in your diet, dealing with dry mouth, and keeping up with daily dental hygiene — you can keep your teeth vibrant and healthy as you age.