Take Care of Your Teeth and Prevent Signs of Aging, Part 2

Did you know that your age shows in your smile?

Just like with any other part of your body, aging affects your teeth and oral health. Follow these tips to keep your smile healthy and looking great.

Preventing Stains on Your Teeth

Certain foods-especially coffee, tea, and red wine-can stain teeth. Tobacco, both smoked and chewed, also discolors teeth. Avoid getting stains on your teeth by following these steps.

If you still aren’t satisfied with the color or your teeth, talk to Dr. Brad Greenfield about teeth whitening options.

What You Can Do:

  • Avoid foods that stain teeth.
  • Brush regularly to remove plaque buildup, which will help your teeth resist stains.
  • Have your teeth cleaned professionally every six months. Your dentist or dental hygienist can remove plaque and tartar that a toothbrush can’t reach.

Preventing Gum Problems

Gum disease is the biggest threat to destroying your smile. The risk of gum problems increases with age, especially as pockets form at the gum line where bacteria grow. If left untreated, bacterial infections can cause inflammation that damages connective tissue and even bone, leading to tooth loss.

What You Can Do:

  • Brush and floss regularly to remove bacteria.
  • For added protection, use an antibacterial mouthwash.
  • Go to your dentist for a regular checkup every six months. This is very important for detecting gum disease early.
  • Since gum disease is an inflammatory process, eating foods that suppress inflammation may help. Growing evidence suggests that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help dampen inflammation.

Preventing Dry Mouth as You Age

Called xerostomia, dry mouth can drastically increase the risk of decay and gum problems. A healthy flow of saliva helps clean teeth and neutralize acids that otherwise eat away at the tooth enamel.

What You Can Do:

  • A drop in saliva levels can very quickly cause problems. At the first sign of dry mouth, talk to your doctor.
  • A change in prescriptions may help alleviate the problem. If not, your doctor may recommend chewing sugar-free gum, as it increases saliva flow.
  • Saliva-like oral mouthwashes are available to supplement saliva.

Dr. Brad Greenfield is a family dentist, so he treats patients of all ages with a variety of dental needs. Call Lake Orion Family Dentistry, located in Lake Orion, Michigan, at (248) 693-6213 for more information.