Strong oral care is a lifelong pursuit, and taking the right preventive steps is important at every age.
The standard oral health risks of your early adult years, like tooth decay and gum disease, also remain present in your 60s and beyond. If you’ve maintained strong oral care habits from your 20s through your 50s, then you’re off to a good start.
But as you progress through adulthood, your key oral health risks will evolve over time. During your 60s and beyond, it’s especially important to manage any oral health issues that can lead to an infection that could spread to the rest of the body.
Oral Care in Your 60s and Beyond: Oral Health Risks
Your dietary choices and oral hygiene habits always play a major role in your oral health, but your 60s come with some oral health risks that may be new to you. Many people in their 60s use a full or partial denture, which require regular maintenance, or take medication that may cause dry mouth. By understanding the risks, you can take proactive steps to keep your mouth healthy.
- If your dentures don’t fit correctly, or aren’t properly cleaned, fungal buildup can cause pain and inflammation of oral tissue.
- The structure of your jaw is very important because it holds your teeth in place. If osteoporosis or gum disease damage your jawbone, you may be at increased risk for tooth loss.
- The tooth decay process affects people of all ages. Frequent consumption of alcohol or sugary foods will increase your risk of cavities.
- Gum disease is also a lifelong risk, and can lead to infection or tooth loss. Just one more reason that flossing is important!
- Dry mouth, often caused by medication, can spur a wide range of health issues. Saliva helps keep your mouth clean and healthy, so it’s important to address dry mouth with your dentist.
- Cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues can lead to potentially serious infection. In order to prevent the spread of infection, it’s important to address the problem as soon as possible.
Oral Care in Your 60s and Beyond: Maintaining Healthy Habits
Your 60s and beyond do come with increased risk for certain oral health problems, but you can significantly limit your risk by taking the right preventive steps. In addition to keeping up with regular, daily care for your teeth and gums, you’ll also want to learn to maintain your dentures and other dental work.
- If it’s not broken, why fix it? Stick to your regular schedule of flossing every day, and brushing at least twice per day. Rinse each day with a fluoridated mouth rinse as well, to maintain the enamel that protects your teeth.
- You’ll also want to stay on top of your regular dental checkups and in-office cleanings. Before your visit, make a list of any potential oral health issues that you’d like to bring to your dentist’s attention.
- Cleaning your dentures is vital to oral health in your 60s and beyond. Your dentist will advise you on the cleaning steps you should take, along with when and how often you should remove your dentures.
- Always tell your dentist about new medications or medical conditions that have changed since your last visit. To provide the best possible care, your dentist needs the latest information on your health.
- Oral cancer and other serious health issues often cause symptoms in the mouth. If you have unusual pain, bleeding, or sores, be sure to note the area and discuss it with your dentist.
Above and beyond tooth decay, another even more serious issue affects the health of many seniors. Living with reduced means can cause some to delay visits to dentists, and others may find that their coverage has changed. Be sure to plan well ahead into the future to ensure a stable dental situation for your retirement years.
Loreen Wong Cares for Your Teeth and You
In the end, caring for your teeth in your 60s and beyond isn’t so different from your normal routine. You still want to keep the same daily hygiene habits, and maintain your regular schedule of dental visits. The biggest difference is that you’ll need to be vigilant about reporting sores, pain, and bleeding to your dentist, as these symptoms can be signs of more serious problems. By addressing potential trouble spots as soon as possible, you can keep your mouth healthy throughout your 60s and beyond.