Here are four things you must know about dental hygiene as you age.
1 – If you want to keep your natural teeth as long as possible, you must prevent gum disease
Gum disease develops when bacteria build up on your teeth and gum line, leading to inflammation (known as gingivitis). Gingivitis is a treatable and reversible condition. However, if left untreated, gingivitis turns into periodontal disease (gum disease). Over time, gum disease eats away at the supporting ligaments that hold your teeth in place, leading to wobbly teeth and eventually tooth loss. Unfortunately, gum disease is irreversible and is the leading cause of tooth loss.
2 – 6-monthly check-ups really are essential
Regular professional dental cleans, along with daily at-home care, are an essential part of preventing gum disease. There is mounting evidence that chronic gum disease increases your risk of heart attack, diabetes, and stroke, amongst other conditions. The mouth is the gateway to the body, so if you want to keep your body as healthy as possible, it’s important to keep your teeth and gums healthy as well.
3 – Oral Health Therapists are best suited to helping you prevent gum disease
Most patients are used to their 6-monthly ‘check-up and clean’ being 15-20 minutes long and rushed through by a dentist. At Today’s Dentistry, we have employed Dental Hygienists and Oral Health Therapists for decades because they are dedicated to helping patients prevent dental disease. An Oral Health Therapy appointment is generally 60-minutes long and includes checks for oral cancer, periodontal charting to catch early signs of gum disease, as well as thorough deep cleaning of any built-up tartar.
4 – Floss is not your only option
Traditional dental floss is still a highly effective way of removing extra food and bacteria from between your teeth. However, many patients struggle with floss. If you’re not currently flossing, or you find it difficult due to arthritis or other mobility issues, be sure to talk to your dentist about alternative flossing options. There are many innovative products on the market including interdental brushes and electric water flossers which may help you clean your teeth more thoroughly.