The month of May is coming to a close, and it is almost time for National Senior Health and Fitness Day! This holiday takes place on the last Wednesday in the month of May. In 2019, that is May 29.
It is incredibly important to stay active as you get older. In fact, you probably know that you will have to pay a lot more attention to most things as you age: your diet, your daily activity, your exercise routine, and more. But how you take care of your teeth also changes. As you move into your golden years, make sure you follow these steps for keeping your teeth healthy and strong.
- Be consistent with your dental care.
For some people, taking care of their teeth as they get older is not all that different from any other time of their life! They may need to switch to an electric toothbrush or a toothbrush with softer bristles. Older people sometimes have problems with gum disease or more active tooth decay, so brushing can be painful.
- Ask your dentist about a night guard.
Life is hard on your teeth. Unfortunately, being older means you have decades of wear behind you. That means your teeth may be prone to breaking or chipping. This can be incredibly painful and cause a host of other dental problems, such as infection. To keep your teeth safe, avoid chewing ice or anything that is extremely hard. If you are prone to grinding your teeth at night, ask your dentist if you should start using a mouth guard.
- Increase your water intake.
Many people experience a reduction in saliva as they get older. This is often a result of medication. While it is an annoying side effect, it can actually have serious consequences. Dry mouths are more prone to harboring bacteria that cause tooth decay. The best way to fight this is by drinking more water on a daily basis.
If you can, drink tap water over bottled water. Most cities provide fluoridated water to their residents. Fluoride is an important part of keeping your teeth healthy and strong.
- Be gentle on sensitive teeth.
As you get older, it is likely that you will have to make some diet changes to protect your teeth. Teeth get more sensitive with age. This means it may be a good idea to reduce your sugar intake – this includes limiting sweet drinks like pop and juice. You may even find that drinking very hot or cold drinks hurts your teeth. If you have pain, experiment with cutting certain things out of your diet.
- Watch for signs of disease.
As you get older, you are more likely to develop gum disease or some kinds of oral cancers. This does not mean you are likely to get a disease, so there is no need to panic. Regularly check your mouth for any unexplained bleeding, discoloration, pain, or lumps. If you bleed when brushing or flossing your teeth, make sure to mention it to your dentist.