Oral Hygiene– What You Need to Know…
Did you know that oral health offers various clues about your overall health? If left unchecked, problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body and lead to severe health issues than simple cavities or other dental related matters. As we age, the importance of oral hygiene only increases. For example, the dentin, or the bone-like tissue that underlies the tooth enamel, changes because of the beverages and foods we eat over the years. Staining, in addition to a thinning of the outer enamel layer increases and the yellow dentin, shows through creating darkened teeth.
In fact, research shows that not keeping up with routine tooth and mouth care can lead to issues such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, respiratory infections, diabetic complications, and pneumonia. Learn more about the connection between your oral health and overall health. There are steps you can take to be proactive and avoid these ailments while at the same time avoiding those more common dental issues like toothaches or unsightly stains.
We all know that brushing and flossing are two of the most important steps you can take to keep your pearly whites healthy. There are also some other steps you should follow to help prevent serious illness. See the list below for the top ways you can prevent gum disease and protect your oral health:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Use antibacterial mouthwash to kill bacteria
- Floss daily
- Eat a healthy diet that includes high-fiber foods
- Limit processed foods and beverages that are high in sugar
- Drink water that contains fluoride to help prevent tooth decay
- Limit between-meal snacks
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months
- Schedule regular dental visits for cleanings and checkups, ideally every six months but at least once per year
- Avoid tobacco that not only puts you at greater risk for cancer but also increases problems with gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss
Dentures can create an additional challenge for seniors that need them. Bacteria can stick to your teeth and to full or partial dentures. Poor fitting dentures, bad dental hygiene or buildup of the fungus Candida causes an inflammation of the tissue underlying a denture and can be quite painful.
To help keep your dentures in tip-top shape, be sure to clean them daily with cleaners made specifically for dentures. Do not use toothpaste for natural teeth or household cleaners, which are too abrasive and can damage dentures. Also, take your dentures out of your mouth for at least four hours every 24 hours to keep the lining of your mouth healthy. It’s best to remove your full or partial dentures at night. Your dentist will provide you with instructions about how long you should wear your dentures each day.