Oral health care and dental hygiene are important throughout life. Good habits begin during infancy when parents wipe a baby’s gums after a bottle or breastfeeding. As we age, those habits expand to include brushing, flossing, regular dental checkups and other services as are necessary. Read to learn about the habits that your dentist in Washington recommends for all ages.
Stick with Fluoride Toothpaste
Whether you are five, 50 or 85, brushing with fluoride toothpaste is a must. Fluoride is important in children because it help strengthen developing as well as erupted teeth, so they are less likely to develop cavities.
However, research done at the Mayo Clinic has found that older people are also at risk for cavities and, therefore, need to continue using fluoride toothpaste.
In addition to choosing ADA approved toothpaste with fluoride, another good habit is occasionally drinking fluoridated tap water. Municipalities routinely add fluoride to the water in order to reduce the occurrence of tooth decay.
Also, adults who are susceptible to cavities may want to discuss fluoride treatments with the family dentist in Washington. This quick treatment is applied at the end of a dental cleaning and can go a long way toward strengthening tooth enamel, your first line of defense against the bacteria and acids that can lead to cavities.
Battling Gum Disease
Although typically associated with older adults, gum or periodontal disease can actually strike at any age. Gum disease begins when bacterial plaque invades gum tissue. This plaque usually clings to teeth along the gum line. That’s why flossing is just as important as brushing. When you floss, you are able to remove plaque from between your teeth and along the gums.
If you notice that your gums bleed when you floss, then don’t stop! To the contrary, bleeding gums can be an early sign of periodontal disease, so you may want to floss even more often. Your dentist near me offers periodontal therapy if your oral hygiene routine at home is not enough to stop the progression of this bacterial infection.
A dry mouth is definitely a condition that is associated with aging, because it can be a side affect to many medications and chronic health conditions. Unfortunately, having a dry mouth can increase your risk for tooth decay. The reduced amount of saliva makes it harder for your mouth to wash away harmful bacteria. Talk to your doctor about possibly adjusting your medication dose or trying a new one.
If you do have a dry mouth, one habit to practice is chewing sugar-free gum, which stimulates saliva production without increasing the risk of cavities the way regular gum can. There are also moisturizing mouthwashes and sprays available. If necessary, your dentist in Washington may recommend an artificial saliva product.
Another good dental habit is maintaining regular checkups. If you need an appointment, call our office today.
Meet the Doctor
Dr. James Mace is a dentist in Washington, MO. He and his staff are committed to ensuring the health, beauty and longevity of your smile. If you’d like to learn more about tooth-colored fillings or another service, contact us today.