As people age, there are numerous problems that arise in terms of maintaining good dental health, some of which can easily been addressed. Some of these items will be things you may have heard before, but others will be new to you. Let’s get started!
- Tooth bleaching isn’t just for those who want whiter teeth! You may be shocked to hear that, but it’s true. The “bleaching” gel used for whiten teeth isn’t bleach at all; it’s a peroxide gel, and there are different formulations of those gels. When you had a cut or a scrape, why did your Mom or Dad (or you) clean the area with? Peroxide, most likely. Why? Peroxide is great for killing bacteria and cleaning out organic matter. It’s foaming action when it reacts with these items also serve to lift these out of the infected or injured areas. When you keep things clean, the body can heal. The same is true for the mouth! If you’re having trouble keeping your gums healthy and plaque (food and bacteria) buildup to an absolute minimum, see your dentist for custom fitted trays for “bleaching” your teeth. By using these trays and the peroxide gel that goes in them, you’ll kill harmful bacteria, loosen and dissolve debris, and have healthier gums. Doing this daily or every other day will make a huge difference in the health of your teeth and gums.
- Purchase a sonic-type electric toothbrush. The cost of even the most fancy model available is less than the cost of a single filling, so buy one and use it exactly as directed on the box it came it. Use it for a full two minutes – no cheating! In just a few short days you’ll notice a big improvement in the health of your mouth.
- Use a prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste instead of an over-the-counter toothpaste. Yes, you’ll need to see your dentist for this, but it’s worth your while. The cost of these toothpastes are minimal, and a year’s supply won’t even get close to the cost of restoring a single cavity. Use the toothpaste EXACTLY as directed. It’ll help remineralize tooth enamel where cavities may have already begun and will strengthen tooth enamel to make it more impervious to tooth decay.
- Floss – and if you can’t or won’t, try this alternative. “Air flossers” are available by several manufacturers now and these devices shoot a concentrated blast of a liquid of your choice (water, peroxide, mouthwash, prescription rinses) between your teeth and under the gums, helping remove the layer of biofilm that causes gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath.
- Clean your teeth every night as the last thing you do before going to bed – in the very, very least. The best time of the day to thoroughly clean your mouth is just that time, as you don’t want plaque sitting on your teeth all night long. Even better, brush after each meal, too, because as we age, plaque buildup develops more abundantly for a variety of factors, so the more times you brush, the more likely you are to keep your mouth healthier. This will also affect your general health, as it reduces the infection and inflammation burden your body is fighting. Lastly, get your teeth cleaned 3 or 4 times a year, not 1 or 2. You don’t need a dental exam and X-rays every visit to have your teeth cleaned, so work with a dentist who understands your needs and can help you control the cost of your dental care.