How to maintain your Dental Health in later life

Did you know that, according to a survey of Americans, going to the dentist is one of the top 5 things we fear most? We are more scared by the thought of getting our teeth checked than even snakes, clowns, or flying! It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But our dental health is super important, and regular check-ups with your dentist is a huge part of that. If it really is too much to bear, the best way to avoid unessential trips to the dentist is to maintain a good routine of oral hygiene yourself at home. Looking after your teeth and mouth isn’t just important for keeping that gleaming smile, or preventing bad breath, poor dental health can lead to much more serious problems for your overall health. If your ability to chew is reduced, this can have serious effects including: malnutrition, pain and warped speech and can even contribute to stroke and diabetes. The risk of infection in teeth and gums is also dangerous as it can spread throughout the body if not identified quickly. Many of us have carried poor oral hygiene habits with us since we were young, and mid-life and beyond is where the effects are felt the most, which explains the stereotypes of seniors and dentures. The good news is that it’s not too late to reform your dental health, and there’s plenty of simple ways to make a big difference. Here’s just a few of them:

1) Eat nutritious foods When it comes to dental health, we’re often told most about the foods we should avoid. But what about the foods that we should eat? Calcium is the super-nutrient for your teeth, it works to strengthen and repair your teeth, and is super important. Most everyday dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt are rich sources of calcium so it really is simple to add more of this essential good stuff to your diet. Nutrients, such as Vitamins B and D, found in fruits and vegetables are also essential for maintaining and protecting your teeth and gums. Whereas, unsurprisingly, drinking lots of soda and eating sugary junk-food is known to cause damage and decay to your teeth and the rest of your mouth. The solution? A balanced diet!

2) Drink more water! There’s limitless reasons why we should all drink more water, and not just for the sake of our teeth. That said, tap water contains fluoride which is known to prevent teeth-decay, and strengthen enamel. So, one sure way to maintain your dental health is to get plenty of H2O. Just be sure to drink tap water wherever possible instead of bottled water which doesn’t contain the fluoride.

3) Use fluoride mouthwashes When used in addition to your regular brushing routine, mouthwashes are a great way to clean your entire mouth. Not only do they clean and strengthen teeth, but also work to protect your gums. When choosing a mouthwash, it’s important to check with your dentist, as while fluoride mouthwashes are most effective, they may not be suitable for everyone.

4) Floss! If flossing isn’t already a key part of your regular oral hygiene routine, then you’re really not being thorough enough! It might leave your mouth feeling clean, but brushing alone doesn’t fully remove every last bit of food from your teeth. In fact, even mouthwash doesn’t reach everywhere. But flossing is a perfect way to clean those small gaps and spaces and to be sure that you’re getting the ultimate clean. It might be a bit of a chore, but flossing once a day is a great habit to start that will help you maintain good dental health into later-life. Your mouth will definitely thank you for it!

5) Chew sugar-free gum If you’re not already in the habit of regularly chewing gum, it’s never too late to start. Provided you choose a sugar-free variety, it can become a key part of an effective oral hygiene routine. When you chew gum, it increases saliva production in your mouth and saliva functions to neutralize plaque, prevent your mouth getting too dry and of course freshen breath.