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How Advancing Age Affects Your Dental Health

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to turn back the years but you can take steps to reduce the impact of ageing, especially on your dental health. Good oral health is especially important for protecting your general health as you age, given the close links between many serious health conditions and gum disease.

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An estimated 16% of Canadians wear dentures*

Nowadays, an increasing number of people are retaining at least some or most of their teeth well into old age and although some problems are unavoidable, there is lots you can do to protect your oral health.

Dr. Sarah Harland and Dr. Tom Greene are experienced in treating people of all ages in our family-oriented dental practice. When you visit Tsawwassen Place Dental, your oral health will be carefully assessed, and you will be given a customized preventative dental care plan based on your dental health and your medical health. Some of the problems facing older people include an increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay, mouth infections, and just general wear and tear on teeth. Often medications prescribed for other health conditions can affect oral health.

Coping with the Effects of Medication on Your Oral Health

One common side-effect of many medicines is dry mouth, a condition called xerostomia and where your mouth cannot produce enough saliva to keep it clean and comfortable. This increases your risk of gum disease and tooth decay, and mouth infections. Wearing dentures when your mouth is dry can become uncomfortable. Other side-effects include bad breath, and insufficient saliva will make it difficult to chew and swallow food.

Saliva is one of those things we all take for granted but it’s extremely important for keeping your mouth moist and hygienic. If you have this problem, Dr. Harland or Dr. Greene can help you by assessing your risk of dental disease and discussing options to manage this risk. They may suggest you have more frequent hygiene appointments and can prescribe artificial saliva. You can also purchase saliva substitutes over-the-counter and many people find it helpful to suck sugar-free gum or candy, and to drink plenty of water.

Dealing with General Wear and Tear on Your Teeth

Natural teeth are tremendously strong and must work hard biting and chewing food so it’s hardly surprising that they can become worn, chipped or even fractured. Another problem is acid erosion because every time you eat and drink something sugary or carbohydrate rich, acidity levels in your mouth increase which gradually weakens and erodes your tooth enamel, increasing the risk of cavities. One way to reduce the effects of acid erosion is to change your eating habits, avoiding sugary snacks in between meals.

When brushing after eating, it’s best to wait half an hour for acidity levels to normalize which helps to decrease the damage caused by acid erosion. If you do notice a tooth has become chipped or damaged, then it’s important to get it repaired as soon as you can. The same goes for any loose or crumbling fillings and these are things that can be picked up during your regular checkups.

Make Sure You Have Regular Checkups and Cleanings

It is vitally important to attend regular checkups and cleanings here at Tsawwassen Place Dental. Our experienced dentists can closely monitor your dental health, treating any small problems that may develop. Having your teeth professionally cleaned is an excellent treatment for maintaining healthy gums.

If you find it more difficult to brush and floss then we can provide practical help, offering advice on tools you may find easier to use, for example electric toothbrushes are ideal for anyone who struggles to hold an ordinary toothbrush. Dental floss can also be replaced with other tools such as interdental brushes or water flossers that will help keep you smiling regardless of age.

Just one dental visit every six months will help keep your smile in looking so good it can take years off your age. Contact us to request an appointment.

* Source: Canadian Denture Centres canadiandenturecentres.com

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