As we get older, we’re naturally going to experience some changes in our oral health. That’s why it’s important to visit your dentist in Sparks at least twice a year. After all, gum disease and cavities become more common as we age. Even if you take really good care of your teeth, you can still experience some wear and tear and other problems. Follow these dental care tips for seniors to reduce the risk of oral health complications.
Brushing & Flossing Habits May Change
To keep your teeth and gums healthy, it’s critical that you clean your mouth regularly with proper oral hygiene products like floss or a toothbrush. However, sometimes brushing and flossing becomes more difficult as we age, especially if we no longer have the dexterity in our hands that we used to. It’s important to find the right tools for your specific needs so that you can thoroughly brush and floss properly. Brushing and flossing are crucial, especially in seniors, to reduce the risk of gum disease, which affects nearly half of all adults over the age of 65 and can contribute to other health complications such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Dry Mouth is a Real Concern
Dry mouth is a common side effect of certain medications that affect saliva production, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, and diuretics. Dry mouth can also happen due to age-related changes in your salivary glands and related issues. While this problem can certainly be uncomfortable, it can also cause serious problems. Dry mouth can cause decay, gum disease, and bad breath. Be sure to speak with your dentist in Sparks about what steps you can take at home to relieve dry mouth issues. Most dentists will recommend:
- Drinking plenty of water
- Chewing sugarless gum to stimulate saliva
- Limiting caffeine and alcohol as they can increase drying
- Trying a mouthwash specifically for dry mouth
Dental Visits Are Even More Important
As we age, we are more susceptible to tooth decay and oral infection. We also know that seniors can also have a harder time keeping their mouths clean. This can lead to tooth loss, gum disease, and other oral health problems. This makes it extra important that you see your dentist in Sparks at least twice a year. In fact, some older adults that are at increased risk for dental problems may want to visit their dentist more than two times per year.
Losing Teeth Isn’t a Guarantee
When many people think about how getting older may affect their oral health, they automatically think about tooth loss. The truth is, you don’t have to lose your teeth. The best ways to prevent tooth loss as you age is to take excellent care of your oral health, eat healthily, drink plenty of water, avoid smoking, and see your dentist regularly. However, if you do lose a tooth or two, we always recommend replacing it with a dental bridge, dental implants, or dentures. Without a full set of teeth, your oral health and overall health can suffer.
At every age, it’s important to take care of your teeth. But as we grow older, that care may change. Make sure you adapt your oral health care routine to protect your teeth long into your golden years.
It’s common knowledge that high sugar diets are bad for your teeth, which is one reason why your dentist in Sparks recommends limiting your sugar intake daily. But what you might not know is that many of the foods and drinks that you enjoy may be secretly packed with sugar. In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the top 6 foods and drinks with the highest levels of sugar.
Soda is an excellent source of sugar. In fact, it’s even worse than chocolate bars because there’s less food value to balance out its calorie content. The phosphoric acid in sodas can destroy tooth enamel and make teeth more susceptible to decay and cavities. Excess consumption can also lead to diabetes due to elevated blood glucose levels. Pairing soda with other sweet or acidic drinks will increase your risk as well, so if you are serious about protecting your smile and achieving long-term oral health, avoid them altogether.
2) Fruit Juices
Fruit juices are commonly perceived as healthy options due to their bright colors and phytonutrients (natural chemicals in plants that have antioxidant properties). This is true, but many store-bought fruit juices also contain additives such as sweeteners or flavorings that boost sweetness levels. To avoid consuming excess sugar without even knowing it (especially if you do not typically drink other sweet beverages), consider drinking freshly squeezed or 100% pure fruit juice only occasionally.
3) Energy Drinks
Most people know that energy drinks can do more harm than good over time, especially when combined with alcohol. But your dentist in Sparks has even more concerns. A 2012 study by the Center for Science in Public Interest found that an 8-ounce serving of a popular energy drink contained 44 grams of sugar!
Granola is another one of those foods that’s often marketed as healthy. However, granola contains plenty of natural sugars — one cup of homemade granola has on average 36 grams of sugar. What can be even more confusing is that store-bought varieties often contain added sugars, and can contain up to 61 total grams of sugar!
5) Fruit Smoothies
Fruit smoothies can be made from fresh fruits, so they provide additional vitamins and minerals that may not be found in sodas or other sugary drinks. However, it is important to note that any drink containing more than 50 grams of sugar per serving should be consumed moderately because of its potential to cause dental decay and other oral health problems.
6) Spaghetti Sauce
Perhaps one of the most surprising on our list, tomato-based products like spaghetti sauce, tomato soup, and ketchup tend to have more sugars than non-tomato items because of their fruit content. Spaghetti sauce for example contains 16g of sugar per 1/2 cup serving, which is a whopping 28% of the recommended daily value.
There are many high-sugar products at your disposal, with levels of sugar you may not even know about. But any time you’re consuming something sugary, or that has a high sugar content on the nutritional label, you should watch out for its impact on your oral health — as well as other areas of your life, such as weight gain or diabetes. Rinsing your mouth with water after eating anything sugary can help, but as always, it’s best to enjoy sugary treats in moderation, and of course, see your dentist in Sparks twice a year.