Your Mouth's Age Doesn't Have to Match Your Chronological Age

People commonly think getting older means dealing with many changes that are unwelcome. However, that isn't always the case. While your body does change as you get older, you can slow down a lot of those changes with the right care. Your dental health, for example, is something that you can keep in really great shape for years if you take the right steps. The good news is that these steps are simple and will help keep you in better health overall.

Watch Out for Dry Mouth

One of your body's mechanisms for protecting your teeth is saliva. It washes a lot of the cavity-causing bacteria away, and if you don't have a lot of saliva, the bacteria and plaque in your mouth can stick to your teeth and gums, increasing your chances of developing cavities or gingivitis. You shouldn't notice a decrease in saliva due to age alone, but as your ability to tell how thirsty you are fades, and as you take medications over time that dry out your mouth, you might find yourself dealing with redder gums and more decay. Be sure you drink enough water daily. That way, even if your level of saliva production slows down, you'll have adequate moisture for your teeth and gums.

Fill in Gaps

Having a missing tooth for a short time isn't much of a problem. However, the longer you go with that gap, the more the surrounding teeth can move. If they do, that will send your bite out of alignment. Bite down too hard, and you could end up chipping teeth. Get any gaps filled with implants as soon as you can.

See Your Dentist

Good, basic oral hygiene is one of the best ways to preserve your mouth. In addition to the usual brushing and flossing, get your teeth cleaned on schedule and get x-rays every year or two. Don't neglect your regular dental appointments.

See Your Doctor, Dietitian, Trainer, and So Forth

Also be sure to see your doctor as needed and speak with a dietitian to ensure you're getting adequate nutrition. As your caloric needs drop with age, you could find yourself not getting enough nutrition. Taking supplements or starting to work out and build more muscle—thus increasing your calorie requirements and allowing you to eat more—are very easy ways to help your body stay healthy. Speak with a trainer first if you decide to start working out.

If you notice any other strange changes in your mouth, talk to your dentist. Many times these are things that are easy to fix, and taking care of them now will let you stop worrying about them sooner.

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