Preserving Your Teeth As You Age

As a person grows older, their chance of tooth loss may increase. Many older adults suffer from conditions that result in the loss of teeth, such as periodontal disease. Nevertheless, tooth loss does not have to occur.

Here are a few measures that aging adults can take to help preserve their teeth.

Use a Chlorhexidine Mouthwash

A mouth rinse that includes chlorhexidine can help reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the oral cavity. The chlorhexidine in the mouth rinse is an antibacterial agent. It is often preferred above other antibacterial ingredients, such as alcohol, because it does not dehydrate the soft tissues.

Oral bacteria can be particularly problematic because they release acids that inflame the gums and cause decay. Additionally, they can cause oral infections.

Although regular brushing removes some of the bacteria from the mouth, the brush may still miss some areas of the oral cavity. Since the mouthwash is a liquid, it can reach the crevices and tight spaces that a toothbrush may be unable to reach. 

Have Decay Treated Promptly

If a cavity is not treated while it is still small, it can continue to grow. Eventually, the hole in the tooth can deepen, reaching the pulp layer. If bacteria gain access to the pulp and infect it, the tooth infection may necessitate an extraction.

Additionally, tooth decay can spread. A cavity may start in one tooth and the decay could spread to other nearby teeth. As additional teeth are affected by the decay, the chance of losing one or more teeth increases. 

Regular dental appointments can help ensure that cavities are detected in the early stages. Some cavities may not be easily detected by the naked eye. However, the dentist may quickly spot them on a dental x-ray.

Consider Using a Water flosser

Water flossers, which are also called oral irrigators, can clear away plaque and particles of food from the interdental spaces and from the area along the gum line as effectively as string floss. However, many water flossers do not require the level of dexterity during use that string floss does. Thus, older adults may find them easier to handle.

In addition, not only do oral irrigators clear away plaque, but they can also massage the gums to help increase the blood flow to the tissues and encourage good gingival health. Many water flossers even have special settings that control the water flow and permit different patterns of pulsation. Gum health becomes increasingly important as a person ages since periodontal disease can lead to extensive tooth loss.

For more information about preserving your teeth as you age, schedule a consultation with a family dentistry service in your local area.