Q. I’m over 65 years old and my teeth are getting weaker. What can I do to look after them?
A. The good news is that due to the better overall dental care resources available, it has become a lot easier for older patients to keep their natural teeth for a lot longer than they were able to 10 years ago. Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that as you get older, you need to take extra care of your teeth because there’s a higher risk of you developing certain dental conditions that you may have been immune to when you were younger.
Some of the common conditions you’re at risk of developing are gum disease caused by plaque build-up and poor dental hygiene as well as smoking, poorly fitted dentures and diabetes. Others include dry mouth – which is caused by a lack of saliva flowing through your mouth – and root decay.
This is caused when your gums recede as you get older and the root of your teeth become exposed to acids that can cause decay. You may notice that your teeth have become a lot more sensitive, too – something which can be as a result of brushing with a hardbristled brush and worn tooth enamel. Therefore, to stay on top of your teeth and to keep them as healthy and natural for as long as you can, you should brush at least twice a day using a toothpaste with a high concentration of fluoride.
If you smoke, then try to cut down or quit altogether and use antibacterial mouthwash to keep the plaque build-up at bay.