In a sunny and dynamic country such as Australia it can be quite depressing when you realize that you, or some parts of your body, are getting old(er). Just a century ago, the need for dentures in later life was pretty much a foregone conclusion. Today, on the other hand, more than three-quarters of people over 60 retain at least a couple of their natural teeth, but older people in general are still fighting various gum diseases, oral cancer, dental decay and tooth loss. And while these problems aren’t something to smile about, note that you can still do many things to keep your mouth feeling and looking younger than it is.
Wear & tear
Even though teeth are amazingly strong and can bear more than 200 pounds of pressure, they are still not indestructible. They’ve spent a lifetime gnawing, crunching and grinding, and that has left the outer enamel layer worn away and biting edges flattened. And not just that, the tooth surface is also affected by acidic foods like carbonated beverages, citrus fruits and of course any type of sugar – since it turns into acid the moment it gets in contact with saliva. A weakened protective enamel further leads to many dental problems such as cracked teeth, infections, cavities, tooth decay etc. – your gray hairs cannot protect you from any of these.
And while there really isn’t much you can do to prevent the natural weakening of the tooth surface, you can prevent cavities by regularly brushing, flossing and cleaning your teeth at your dentist’s office. If you suffer from arthritis or some other disability that gives you trouble when flossing or brushing by hand, consider switching to an electric toothbrush.
Also, opt for a fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses, since they will help your body rebuild crystals that make up the tooth enamel.
You are never too old for braces
In the past it was thought that you can straighten your teeth and solve other issues like the overbite just while you are a kid, and that braces are not something adults are supposed to wear. However, a trend that has taken Australia by storm is wearing adult braces. no matter how old you are you can now have your teeth straightened and the issues such as overlapping teeth and misaligned jaw fixed. All you need to do is find a renowned Sydney dentist that can help you discover the adult braces that you need. That way your perfect smile can age gracefully.
The risk of developing oral cancer increases with usage of tobacco as well as your age. The majority of people who suffer from mouth cancer are tobacco consumers. The lip is the most common site and right after that there is tongue. Since most lip cancer tumors usually grow on the lower lip, men are much more likely to be affected.
The initial signs of this disease are often really subtle and easily mistaken for herpes or yeast infections. If you notice a red or white patch that lasts longer than 2-3 weeks, especially if it is on your tongue, bottom of the mouth or lip, immediately book an appointment with your oral specialist.
Making the most of it
Since age brings various health problems, it also brings various medications for those problems. And those medications usually list dry mouth or some other mouth cavity issue as their side effect. Lack of saliva is so much more than just uncomfortable – it makes chewing and swallowing as well as talking difficult, it causes bad breath and leads to several irritations and infections. Not to mention it also raises the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
You can moisten your dry mouth by chewing sugarless or xylitol gums or by sucking on sugarless candies. Drinking more water will also help, but before swallowing it, try holding it in your mouth for a little bit. Avoid alcohol and caffeine since they dry out the mouth.
Being irresponsible about keeping up with your oral health can cause problems at any age, especially when you are older, because then problems get much worse. If you want to keep your mouth young in your old age, you first have to do some work yourself: brush with a fluoride toothpaste, never forget to floss, and never skip dental appointments.