How to Stay Orally Healthy at Any Age
You might think that as long as you brush and floss regularly, you’ll never need to worry about your oral health – but the truth is that your teeth and gums actually change quite a bit throughout your life. From tooth decay and infections to everyday wear and tear, life can take its toll on your mouth, which is why it’s important to be aware of – and practice – the right oral health habits for your age. So here are some tips, broken down by decade.
Your 20s – Establish Healthy Habits
Your daily routine changes a lot as you graduate and launch your own life – but don’t forget to include the same oral health habits you learned as a kid: brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing twice every day, getting dental health services like check-ups (even at a walk in dentist’s office) once every six months, and avoiding sugary foods. Although it’s not always easy to maintain these habits in the midst of so much change, committing to them now will make it that much easier to keep them up as you get older – plus, it’ll give you a solid start on a lifetime of good oral health.
Your 30s – Keep Up Appearances
As your life settles down from the chaos of college and you get into your year-round routine, be sure to stick with the good oral health habits you’ve learned. Keep brushing and flossing, and don’t forget to work those regular dental check-ups into your calendar. If you’ve taken up smoking, now’s the time to quit – the sooner you free your mouth from tobacco, the better chance you have of getting rid of those unsightly brown stains; not to mention the tooth and gum decay that come with long-term tobacco use. You can also talk to your dentist about tooth whitening, since it’s easier to clean discoloration now than later in your life.
Your 40s – Watch for Trouble
If you’ve stuck with healthy oral habits throughout your 20s and 30s, you may not have too much to worry about in that department as you enter your 40s – but if you’ve slipped up on the brushing, flossing, or regular dentist visits, the consequences of those choices may return to haunt you as you enter middle age. Ask your dentist to help you watch out for the early symptoms of gum disease, as this can become a major problem for aging people. Keep an eye out for cavities and oral ulcers (“canker sores”), and ask your dentist to help you with any problems you notice. By keeping an eye on your dental health month to month, you can spare yourself a lot of trouble down the road.
Your 50s – Clean Carefully
Plaque can start to creep in more than usual in your 50s, especially if you haven’t brushed and flossed regularly throughout your life. If you’re noticing some plaque buildup, schedule a dentist visit right away, because plaque can cause serious infections in aging gums if it’s not nipped in the bud. Dry mouth can also lead to infections and other problems, so talk to your dentist if you’ve noticed a lack of saliva lately. This issue is usually easy to treat, and it’ll save you a lot of unpleasantness to treat it now. Dental health products like oral mouthwashes can also help prevent problems like these.
Your 60s and Beyond – Be Gentle
Even if you’ve taken care of your teeth throughout your life, you may start to notice some brittleness as you pass the age-60 mark. This is normal, and one option is to go for implants. Dental implants cost a bit more than dentures, but they may save you from having to get false teeth at all – and they’ll feel like a natural part of your mouth. You can also take care of your teeth by avoiding foods like hard candy, which put wear and tear on your teeth, and introduce infection-causing sugar into your gums. Watch out for cavities, and ask your dentist if you notice any pits or sore spots in your teeth or gums. And of course, continue to brush and floss twice a day, and get those regular dental checkups!
No matter what age you are, you can benefit from a dental checkup with a Palm Harbor dentist. Check out dentist reviews from Palm Harbor, FL, and you’ll see how dental implants, braces, or even just a routine cleaning can prevent all sorts of oral problems and create a healthier, more confident smile for you
Paul L. Caputo, DDS3490 E Lake Rd S Suite A