What is the key to maintaining a bright and healthy smile?
Adult Oral Hygiene: It starts with proper oral hygiene:
- The main cause of tooth decay is plaque, a sticky film on your teeth. Brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste will help avoid plaque.
- Plaque if left untreated can harden into tartar which can only be removed by your dentist. Flossing daily helps remove plaque between your teeth and under your gumline.
- Sweets and snacks are major culprits in causing the acids in plaque that attack the tooth enamel. Avoid sticky snacks between meals and limit your intake of sugary and starchy foods.
- Keep regular appointments with your dentist for checkups and cleaning.
Adult Oral Hygiene: Dental issues that you should be aware of:
Adopting a good oral hygiene is only the first step. You need to work with your dentist closely to meet some of the challenges in terms of oral health issues.
- One of the main reasons for tooth loss is Gum disease. It starts with symptoms such as red, swollen or tender gums that bleed at times when you brush. This is known as Gingivitis and it can lead to tertiary stages of gum disease if you don’t treat them immediately . This is easily reversible in the earlier stages. Gum disease can affect your overall health. Keeping gum disease at bay requires not only a regular oral routine at home but also professional cleaning by your dentist.
- As we get older, we tend to suffer from recurrent decay which refers to cavities around existing fillings as well as decay on the root surfaces of teeth. Visit your dentist for regular cleaning and a recommendation for fluoride toothpaste.
- Your gums recede naturally over time as you age exposing those areas of the teeth that are not protected by enamel. Your teeth become sensitive and painful when exposed to hot or cold food and drinks; sour, sweet or acidic food and drinks, even cold air. The tooth sensitivity may be reduced with an anti-sensitivity toothpaste. However, if the problem persists, it is important to consult your dentist who may be able to check whether there is a cavity or cracked tooth causing the sensitivity.
Maintaining your teeth
Adult Oral Hygiene: Getting older also means making choices about how we maintain our teeth. Regular external stains that occur over a period of time due to food, drinks or tobacco can be removed by your dentist. Internal stains may require your dentist to either use bleaching, bonding or capping of teeth. Depending on the requirements, your dentist will suggest the right course of treatments.
However, you still have to make decisions about how to take care of gaps and tooth loss. This is where your dentist can be a great source of information for you. Consult your dentist about:
- Crowns: They strengthen damaged teeth by entirely covering or capping the teeth. It also improves alignment, appearance and shape of teeth.
- Implants: They are used to replace missing teeth. They are often used to replace or more teeth or sometimes to attach full or partial dentures.
- Bridges: They replace missing teeth and span the space where the missing tooth was earlier. Bridges are cemented to the dental implants or natural teeth around the empty space.
The most important aspect of maintaining healthy teeth and gums as you grow older is proper nutrition. A well-balance diet will provide the necessary nutrients and minerals for your teeth and gum tissues so that they are strong and can resist infections.
Fibrous and firm foods such as fruits and vegetables help keep your teeth and tissues clean, while nutritious foods like cheese and yoghurt can reduce the damage to your teeth.