Sadly, about 27% of seniors over the age of 65 have no remaining teeth, as per the NIDCR. A study by CW Douglas indicated that in 2000, 35.4 million people in the US wore dentures, and the number will increase to 37.9 million by 2020. The Silberg Center for Dental Science advises that loss of tooth among seniors has a lot of effects including affecting their social life adversely. Therefore, in your senior years, it is better to use natural and non-invasive ways to strengthen your teeth. Just like there are various ways to ensure that kids brush their teeth, there are specific constraints that seniors should heed to improve their dental health and more importantly, to beat tooth loss. How seniors can prevent tooth loss? Below are some natural and lifestyle tips that can help you in curbing the loss of teeth as you age.
Mind what you eat
The University of Rochester Medical Center informs that when you eat or drink too much sugary or starchy foods, you are not only feeding yourself but also the bacteria in your teeth. When sugars in your mouth get into contact with plaque, the resulting acids can attack your teeth for 20 minutes after you finish your food. If this repeats for long, the enamel covering your teeth gives in to decay, and this could potentially lead to loss of teeth. Therefore, healthy nutrition as you age is paramount. Such foods include fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, green and black tea, sugarless chewing gum(it produces saliva that removes food particles from your teeth) and foods with fluoride. All these provide various essential nutrients and minerals to your teeth, thereby keeping them healthy.
Proven observatory studies by the NIDCR conclude that older seniors who smoke are more likely to have less or no remaining teeth over a given period. CDC reports that smoking reduces your body’s immunity, making it harder for gum disease to heal. When this condition of the gum advances to periodontitis, it can break down the bone and tissue that holds your teeth and make them lose. Assuming that the more you live, the more you smoke, then there is a high chance that such addiction could mean disaster to your choppers; you need to quit smoking.
Replace missing teeth and see the dentist more often
Many studies show that teeth gradually move out of position if there are gaps next to them. You might not notice because such movements are gradual, but they weaken both the teeth and the gum. This means that if you already lost a tooth or 2, you should seek the intervention of a dentist without delay to prevent further damage. Also, medics recommend that you see a dentist every 6 months, but since older teeth are more delicate, you should make it more frequent.
Aging gracefully does not come easily but with effort. While preventing tooth loss, you should think about eating healthy, preventing gum disease and quitting habits such as smoking. The benefits of healthy teeth include evading the high cost of replacement and the ability to eat hard foods even at old age. And what about maintaining that warm smile that you’ve had for decades?
Author: Lucy Wyndham – Dental News