Dining on your favorite foods is a pleasant pastime in more ways than one, from pure sensory enjoyment to social bonding in the LifeStream at Glendale dining hall. However, to ensure continued enjoyment of meals, your teeth, gums and jaws must function correctly and without pain.
Daily brushing, flossing and rinsing, along with regular dental checkups, can promote good oral health. In addition, these seven tips can provide further dental support whether you’ve been a lifelong oral hygiene fan or just recently decided to make some changes.
Years of hard brushing, teeth grinding, poor diet, smoking and genetics can cause gums to recede, leaving more and more of the tooth exposed. In addition, gum disease is a leading cause of gum recession.
The early signs of gum disease (gingivitis) include painful, bleeding gums. Eventually, the condition can progress to periodontal disease, causing infection, gum recession and even tooth loss. Fortunately, there are strategies to help slow down or even reverse early gum disease. Talk to your dentist about oral hygiene habits you can practice at home in your independent living apartment and, if necessary, more advanced periodontal treatments in the office.
Saliva is essential to good oral health; when our mouths become too dry, it can cause unpleasant side effects. For example, chewing and swallowing become more difficult, and you have an increased chance of oral infections. Chronic health conditions and medication side effects are the two main culprits of excessive dry mouth, which can worsen at night.
Talk to your Glendale, Arizona, doctor or pharmacist first to see if a medication could be causing your dry mouth. You may be able to change the amount or timing of the dose. In addition, stimulate saliva output with sugar-free gum and candies, water sips and mouth rinses. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and tobacco, which can increase dryness. Finally, run a humidifier in your independent living apartment at night, especially if you breathe through your mouth during sleep.
Over time, your gums and jaw structure may change, and poor-fitting dentures can make each meal a challenge. Visit a dentist right away if you’re experiencing problems with your dentures. Otherwise, just keep up with regular checkups. Your dentist will check the fit of your dentures and examine soft tissue for any problem areas.
To keep dentures in optimum condition, store them in liquid overnight and clean them with a soft brush using a denture-specific cleanser. Stain removal products can brighten discolored teeth, and rinsing dentures immediately after drinking coffee or tea can also help prevent darkening.
Warning signs of teeth grinding include uneven wearing of teeth, headaches or sore jaw muscles and increased tooth sensitivity. Some common triggers of bruxism also coincide with the senior lifestyle. For example, years of chewing with an improper bite can lead to teeth grinding as we age. In addition, certain chronic conditions and medications can bring on bruxism.
Talk to your dentist if you notice any of the above symptoms. They may be able to fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth and jaw. And finally, practice the following good habits to help limit teeth grinding:
Although some loss of taste and smell may result from the natural aging process, you should still be able to enjoy your favorite foods and beverages. If you’re struggling with taste and smell issues, talk to your doctor to make sure there isn’t an underlying problem. Chronic diseases, sinus and dental problems, COVID-19, smoking and medication side effects can all contribute to a less-than-ideal dining experience.
The outer layer of the tooth (enamel) is white and resistant to staining. However, as we age, enamel can wear away for various reasons, leaving the dentin part of the tooth exposed. Dentin is slightly yellow and easy to stain, thanks to its porous nature. Dark sodas, tea, coffee and red wine can cause teeth to discolor, as can smoking.
Use a straw to protect your front teeth from exposure to dark liquids if you must drink them, and rinse your mouth thoroughly afterward. If you’re interested in more in-depth teeth whitening solutions and your gums and teeth are in good condition, ask your dentist about options.
Seniors are no longer limited to a pack of floss and a standard toothbrush for dental care. Accessible dental designs can be found online and at your corner drugstore in Glendale, Arizona. Look for wide-handled toothbrushes, floss picks, reusable floss holders and disposable pre-pasted toothbrushes. Other helpful oral care solutions include water flossers, mouth rinses and toothpaste for sensitive teeth and gums.
If you make it easy and fun, you’ll have a much better chance of sticking to a new habit. So, stock your LifeStream at Glendale apartment with all the tools you need to make good oral hygiene a part of your life and keep that vibrant smile going year after year.
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