Good oral health is always important, but as we age, risk factors for oral health issues increase and in some instances, bad habits make matters worse. If you want to continue to eat, drink, smile, laugh, and talk normally well into your senior years, maintaining good oral health is imperative.
Your oral health can also be indicative of overall health, which should provide even greater incentive to attend to oral hygiene. Here are just a few reasons to maintain proper oral health as you enter your senior years.
Combat Dry Mouth
Saliva is essential for rinsing food particles and bacteria from the mouth to slow the formation of plaque, tartar, and subsequent oral health concerns. Both age and certain medications can slow the flow of saliva, putting your oral health in jeopardy.
The good news is that there are treatments to help you combat dry mouth, and with proper care and professional consultation it needn’t cause undue harm.
Avoid Gum Disease
As you age, your body heals more slowly, so you need to be careful to avoid infection. When plaque and tartar are left untreated, gingivitis, periodontitis, and abscesses can result. This, in turn, can lead to tooth loss and even more serious concerns if infection spreads to your blood stream and travels throughout your body.
Keep Teeth White
Enamel can wear over time, allowing the yellow dentin within teeth to show through. In addition, this can make teeth more susceptible to staining and expose them to greater risk of decay and infection. With proper oral care you can preserve your enamel, protect your teeth, and maintain a beautiful smile.
Avoid Issues with Dental Work
Throughout your lifetime, you may suffer illness, injury, or other trauma that results in dental work like crowns, bridgework, dentures, or dental implants. Whenever you have partial or full tooth replacement, you have to take extra care to keep teeth clean and gums healthy if you don’t want to risk inflammation of the tissue surrounding dental work.
Maintain Overall Health
Poor oral health has been linked to a number of diseases and disorders, including diabetes, heart disease, and pneumonia, although the causal link is not clear in all cases. The point is that your oral health is a good indicator of your overall health, and when you let one suffer, the other is likely to follow.
A strong home care regimen paired with regular dental visits is the best way to maintain good oral health and stave off potential issues that may become more likely as you age.