There is absolutely no truth to the old wive’s tale that ageing means that you will inevitably lose your teeth. Gone are the days when our great-grandmothers had their teeth removed for a 21st birthday present! Although previous generations frequently had dentures, now turning 50 means having many, if not all of your own teeth. Modern dentistry provides many options for repairing and replacing teeth, not to mention restoration of a confident smile.
It is especially important to tell your dentist about any general health issues and any medication you are taking as this can directly affect your dental health and treatment.
eg some medications produce a dry mouth as a side effect
Visit your dentist for a checkup at least every 6 months, although this will be customized to suit you depending on your dental condition and age. Your dentist will screen for dental disease ie decay, gum disease, dry mouth, bruxism (grinding of teeth and clicking jaw joints) and also do an oral cancer check..
Nowadays, dental decay is a common problem for the mature adult. Paying strict attention to tooth brushing (at least twice a day), especially around the necks of the teeth will help prevent decay. In addition, using dental floss, pikster brushes or a water flosser to remove food between the teeth which can cause decay and/or gum disease is essential. Try brushing your teeth first then do the flossing and you will be surprised to see how much food is still left around your teeth..an absolute smorgasbord of plaque for the bacteria in your mouth to have a party with!
Your dentist can advise you on products to use to protect your teeth against the damaging effects of a dry mouth. In addition, use Lucas’s pawpaw gel for dry, cracked corners of your lips. Always use good quality toothpaste and your dentist can recommend special toothpastes for sensitive teeth.
It goes without saying, that having a healthy, balanced diet and avoiding sweet food and especially sweet drinks between meals is important, to prevent the need for fillings or tooth loss. I would recommend avoiding sweet drinks 24 hours a day!
If you do already have full or partial dentures clean your mouth and dentures thoroughly each day and have both checked by your dentist every year. Even dentures can get a buildup of plaque and hard tartar, which looks unsightly, however, they can be cleaned and polished by the dental hygienist at your checkup. If your dentures are over 8 years old you may notice the teeth are getting shorter with age, and as a result, your face is actually getting shorter, and/or the corners of your mouth are getting more obvious creases. You may also notice that when you smile or speak, you no longer show any teeth, in fact, it looks like you don’t have any teeth at all! These are all signs that it is definitely time for some new dentures.