The Importance Of Good Oral Hygiene As You Age

by • February 13, 2019 • Random NewsComments (0)1873

As we get older, it’s normal to change the way we approach our health. High impact exercise might be replaced with gentler alternatives, we pay closer attention to what we eat, and we visit the doctor more regularly for general health checks. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for our oral health. In fact, oral hygiene seems to fall by the wayside as we get older, and people focus on other areas of their health. 

What many people don’t realize, is that your oral health is linked to your overall health, so taking good care of your teeth is essential if you want to stay healthy. Dental pain is something that should be avoided at all costs. If you’ve left it too late and need the best emergency dentist London has to offer, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty available. If you’re keen to get your oral health back on track, here are just some of the reasons you should take good care of your teeth as you get older.

Keep Gum Disease at Bay

If plaque builds up on your teeth, this can lead to swollen, sore and infected gum tissue. In its earliest stages, known as gingivitis, you might notice you split blood when you brush your teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis which can impact the tissue and bone that keep your teeth in place. Over time, this can lead to tooth loss which is entirely avoidable. Maintaining good oral hygiene and visiting the dentist and oral hygienist every six months can help to avoid this fate. It’s quite common for teeth to shift and crowd with age, and this can contribute to the formation of plaque in areas of your mouth that are difficult to brush or floss. Contrary to popular belief, braces are for people of all ages, not just teens. If your teeth have begun to crowd and overlap, a conversation with your orthodontist may be in order.

Prevent Associated Health Problems

Poor oral hygiene has been linked to wider health problems such as heart disease, pneumonia and diabetes. The same plaque that builds up on your teeth builds up on your arteries, and so failing to keep your teeth clean and healthy can contribute to heart disease. Bacteria in the mouth has also been linked to pneumonia in older patients. And finally, gum disease can hinder your ability to produce insulin, which in turn leads to high blood sugar, which can further aggravate dental problems. By keeping your teeth healthy and strong, you can help to minimise your risk of developing these conditions.

Maintaining Ageing Dental Work

Perhaps you had fillings or crowns fitted when you were younger, or you wear a full or partial denture to replace missing teeth. Proper maintenance of this type of dental work is essential if you want to avoid painful conditions like abscesses, root decay and jaw bone loss. A cracked filling or crown might not bother you immediately but left untreated and it could soon cause a painful toothache as the exposed pulp of the tooth becomes inflamed and infected. Incorrectly maintained dentures can also lead to bone loss and a sunken appearance in the facial structure. If you want to avoid emergency work for these easily avoidable conditions, proper oral hygiene maintenance is all that is required.

How to Improve Your Oral Hygiene

If you haven’t visited the dentist in a while, pick up the phone and make an appointment. You may be surprised to discover how much dentists have changed, and many are skilled at helping to put nervous patients at ease. If you are in pain, always seek the help of an emergency dentist as soon as possible.

For at-home care, you should always brush and floss twice a day to ensure you remove any food and bacteria from your teeth in the morning and before bed. If flossing is uncomfortable, consider a water flosser which uses a high-pressure stream of water to keep your gumline clean. You can also use a mouthwash for an extra clean feeling, but mouth wash should not be used as a substitute for brushing unless specifically instructed by your dentist. And finally, think about changes you can make to your lifestyle, including giving up smoking and avoiding sugary snacks between meals.

Photo credit: Lesly Juarez (@jblesly)

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