5 Ways to Maintain Dental Health as You Age

Posted in #AgeWell

Written by remi miller

Placeholder-Image-320x200Over 1 in 4 Americans over the age of 65 are missing all of their teeth. We all know that we should brush our teeth, gums and tongue for at least two minutes, twice a day. And we also know the importance of flossing and using fluoride mouthwash. So, what are some other ways to maintain dental health with age?

Tip 1: Eat Lots of Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables are a healthy part of your diet. But it can be easier said than done to incorporate these into your daily meals – especially if you’re busy working, caregiving for a loved one or running around with your grandkids. Apples, carrots, celery and overall leafy greens have a variety of nutrients that help build up strong teeth. The first three can also act as natural toothbrushes in a way, since their crunchy exteriors help scratch off food and bacteria from your teeth.

Tip 2: Drink More Water

Saliva is 98% water, and has a huge role in oral health. It helps wash away bacteria and break down the food we eat so it’s easier to swallow and digest. Saliva also helps keep dentures comfortable and from rubbing up against our gums. So, add some more H20 to your daily diet!

Tip 3: Take Inventory of Your Daily Habits

We’ve all heard the risks associated with smoking tobacco products, from lung cancer to heart disease. But smoking can also increase your risk of gingivitis and long-term gum disease, which can lead to tooth decay and loss. If you’re a daily smoker, you may want to take this information into consideration.

Tip 4: Add More Calcium to Your Diet

One of the main components of our teeth is calcium. In fact, the National Institutes of Health recommends that adults over the age of 50 consume between 1,000 and 1,200 mg of calcium daily. Adding calcium to your diet can help strengthen enamel and maintain your optimal tooth health. Plus, it doesn’t just have to mean adding milk-based products to your diet. Food like leafy greens and canned fish can offer adequate calcium.

Tip 5: Keep Up on Visits to the Dentist

In general, it’s recommended to visit your dentist at least twice a year. However, your dentist may make a personalized schedule recommendation for you. You may find that you only need to go once a year for a check-up. Typically, you can get dental insurance through your employer that can help offset the costs of your checkups and any dental work you may need. If you’re enrolled in Medicare, you can get standalone dental insurance. Some Medicare Advantage plans include routine dental health care coverage.

Most Americans will experience some tooth loss as they get older – but there are ways to help maintain your overall oral health as your age. Hopefully these tips will help you establish a healthy routine that will protect those pearly whites and keep them in tip-top shape for years to come!