Friday 28 April 2017

Oral Care Tips for Older Adults

Thanks to advances in modern dentistry, more widespread oral care education, and the availability of better oral care tools, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, and interdental cleaners (brushes to clean between the teeth), a greater number of older adults are keeping their natural teeth for a much longer period of time. It is important to remember, however, that keeping your teeth in good condition as you age might require some special attention. Here are some oral care tips to help you.

Aging Presents New Oral Challenges
As you get older, certain oral conditions not present when you were younger might develop. These include:

  • Dry mouth: Dry mouth can result from physical changes within the body as it ages, but can also be caused by medications.  Over 400 commonly used medications can contribute to dry mouth. This increases the risk for oral disease, as saliva helps kill bacteria and rebuild enamel.
  • Attrition: Otherwise known as simple wear and tear, many years of chewing and grinding can take their toll on an aging set of teeth. As enamel wears down, the risk for cavities increases.
  • Erosion: Can be caused by acids from too many carbonated drinks, fruit juices and heart burn/acid reflux.  As above, when enamel wears down, the risk for cavities increase.
  • Disease: This includes oral cancer and less serious illnesses, such as thrush, which is an abnormal growth of fungus in the mouth.
  • Root decay: Often accompanied by gum disease, the roots of your teeth may become exposed as your gums recede, leading to an increased rate of decay as you age.
Maintaining a Healthy Mouth as You Age
There are several things you can do to maintain your oral health as you age:

  • Increase fluoridation: Switch to a fluoride toothpaste or incorporate a fluoride rinse into your daily routine.  (Always have prescriped by your dentist)
  • Avoid tobacco: Tobacco in any form has been linked to an increased risk of mouth and throat cancer, not to mention heart disease and other serious conditions. Chewing tobacco can even lead to more decay, as many tobacco formulations contain sugar.
  • Increase oral hydration: Ask your doctor if you can substitute your medication for one that doesn't produce dry mouth. If this is not possible, then drink plenty of water, chew a sugarfree gum, and avoid alcohol, which tends to dehydrate your body.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash: When used with brushing and flossing, an antibacterial wash can reduce the buildup of plaque.  (Always have prescriped by your dentist)

Keeping your teeth in tip-top shape as you age requires a few common sense practices. It is also important is to see a dental care professional regularly, as he can provide even more oral care tips. So don't skip your check-ups.

Thursday 20 April 2017

6 Simple Tips to Improve Your Oral Health...

When it comes to our oral health and hygiene, we often get stuck in a routine and habit takes over as we feel that after all these years, of course we know how to look after our teeth, right? However sometimes we pick up bad habits or omit things that we should be doing, which may improve our oral health:

1. Spit, don’t rinse after brushing
Rinsing your mouth after brushing washes away the protective fluoride coating from your toothpaste, which if left protects your teeth for hours after you brush.

2. Try to eat sugary foods at meal times
If you’re going to have that piece of chocolate or a Haribo, do so after a main meal to reduce the number to times your teeth are exposed to damaging acids.

3. Remember to clean in between your teeth
If you don’t clean in between your teeth, you miss cleaning 35% of each tooth surface! Whether you choose an inter-dental brush or floss, make it a daily habit as it helps to remove bacteria that can cause tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. It takes minutes to do and is super easy once you’re in the habit of it!

4. Swap fizzy drinks for water
Fizzy drinks, even sugar free ones, can still damage your teeth as the acids found in these can soften your tooth enamel, which once lost will not regenerate. Instead switch to water, which helps to wash away food particles left in your mouth and keep you hydrated. If you fancy something that’s a bit more exciting than water, why not try fruit infused water to give it a bit of flavouring but keeping the benefits of drinking water.

5. Clean your tongue
A simple, quick scrape of your tongue can do wonders for your breath and remove plaque from your tongue and bacteria build-up.

6. Change your toothbrush
Remember to change your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every 3 months, as the bristles break down and are less effective and you’re also transferring bacteria to your mouth.