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Are you over 60 years of age and wondering how best to keep your smile healthy? It may help you to know that as you get older you are more at risk for cavities. Why is this? If you are currently taking prescription medications whose side effect of causing dry mouth, this can make you more prone to cavities. Healthy saliva flow is vital for a healthy oral environment.

To protect your smile, your first line of defense is cleaning your pearly whites and using ADA-approved products. ADA products have been proven to be both safe and effective, so you can trust that they work as advertised. Following is a list of ways you can ensure a healthier smile after age 60:

Brush: Maintaining your healthy teeth is as valuable now as ever before. In fact, using a fluoride toothpaste will help your tooth enamel remain strong. To protect tooth enamel from wear, as well as protect your gum health, you will want to clean using a soft bristled toothbrush. Make sure that your toothbrush fits comfortably in the mouth so it can reach all tooth surfaces. If your bristles become worn, get a new toothbrush–or toothbrush head, if you are using an electric toothbrush.

Floss: Flossing between teeth and along the gumline will help to remove plaque and food particles. Any kind of flossing tool works, so choose one that works most effectively for you: dental floss, dental picks, oral irrigators, etc.

Dentures: If you have dentures, you’ll want to clean them every single day just as you do your teeth. Whether you have partial or full dentures, they will need to be cleaned to ensure a healthy oral environment. Only use cleaners designed for denture care, and remove your dentures daily for the time period recommended by our dentist.

Checkups:  These are vital for continued strong oral health. We recommend at least one routine exam per year, preferably two unless you have ongoing dental issues, such as gum disease, or are cavity prone. Why is this so important? As you grow older, the nerves inside the tooth pulp become smaller and less sensitive. This means that you might not feel pain from tooth decay, and your tooth may suffer and require extraction if left untreated. Maintaining regular checkups will make sure your teeth are in great condition. During your checkup, we will also check for signs of gum disease and oral cancer, which often go undetected because they don’t always cause pain until later stages.

During your checkup, please make sure our dentist is aware of any medications you are currently taking. This will also include over the counter medications, vitamins, and if you are using herbal remedies, include those on the list. It will also help us to know of any allergies you have, or any medical conditions you are being treated for.  And finally, if you have dentures, please bring them in as well.

Dr. Barbara Lewis-Heywood and our Riverside Dental & Beauty Spa team in Rio Rancho, New Mexico are excited to help you maintain your healthy, confident smile for a lifetime. If you have any questions, concerns, or need to schedule a visit, please call us at 505-219-0594 today!