When we plan for retirement, most of us worry about how to make sure our money holds out for as long as we need it to. Few people consider how to keep their natural teeth long after retirement. But, the pain of losing natural teeth is considerable, and it can have a devastating impact on the individual’s quality of life. Luckily, with the advances in modern dental technique and understanding of how to care for dental health, it is possible to keep natural teeth healthy well past retirement age. A little planning can keep you in your long term relationship with your natural teeth.
Old Habits Die Hard
You probably learned to brush twice a day and floss regularly when you were a kid. If you’ve been faithfully doing so your whole life, good job. Regular, healthy brushing and flossing habits are the foundation for healthy teeth for life.
If tooth brushing or flossing has become difficult due to, for example, arthritis, a quality electric toothbrush and handled flossers can increase both ease and effectiveness of a daily care routine. It’s also vital to keep up regular dental visits. A problem caught early has the very best chance of staying a minor issue, not becoming a major problem.
Medication in the Mix
According to a study conducted on behalf of the AARP, 87% percent of Americans over the age of 65 take at least one prescription drug regularly. Prescription drugs can have significant overall health benefits, but they often come with a side effect that can be dangerous to tooth health. In fact, well over half of prescription medications on the market today list dry mouth as a side effect.
Saliva is the mouth’s natural protective mechanism for the teeth. It helps to prevent cavities as it gently washes the teeth and maintains a healthy pH in the mouth. A lack of saliva leaves teeth exposed. It is important to watch for, and promptly treat dry mouth in order to keep your teeth at their best. CariFree sprays can help treat dry mouth. Of, if you prefer, chewing CariFree gum can provide dry mouth relief and help strengthen teeth.
Gum’s the Word
Healthy teeth grow from healthy gums. Good oral hygiene and regular dental care are key to keeping gums in top shape. Be sure to consult with your dentist if you notice any signs of gum disease, particularly gums that are bleeding, pulling away from teeth, or are tender. As with other dental issues, early treatment of gum issues provides the best chance for long term health.
And Stay Cancer Free
Even past tobacco use can cause cancer down the line. Of course, never using tobacco is ideal, but quitting tobacco use greatly reduces your risk for several types of cancer. Oral cancer is best caught and treated early. That’s why a yearly dental exam might just save your life in addition to saving your teeth. Pain, swelling, red or white odd spots, and difficulty swallowing or eating warrant a check-in with the dentist to make sure that major problems don’t get time to balloon out of control.
At the End of the Day
They’re your teeth, and you’ll want to keep them well past ending your daily work. Luckily, our developing understanding of dental care allows tooth lifespan to be a lot closer to whole lifespans.