Even though oral health problems such as missing and damaged teeth are very common among the senior population, these issues are almost always avoidable. As long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums, you should be able to enjoy a beautiful and healthy smile for the rest of your life. Here are five easy ways you can protect your smile and avoid serious health complications in the coming years.

Use a Good Mouthwash

Brushing and flossing are extremely important daily habits, but seniors should also use a high-quality antibacterial mouthwash at least once or twice a day. After dislodging food debris with your toothbrush and floss, the mouthwash will rinse the particles away so that they don’t cling to your teeth. Regularly using mouthwash will also reduce your risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and halitosis.

Rethink Your Medications

According to the CDC, over 4,000 different medications can contribute to dry mouth. When left untreated, dry mouth often results in secondary complications including tooth loss and gum disease. Seniors who are struggling with dry mouth should speak with a doctor about altering their medications or changing the doses. Dry mouth can also be caused by tobacco products, allergies, chronic dehydration, and malnutrition.

Don’t Ignore Your Dental Appointments

One of the reasons why so many older adults avoid their dental appointments is because they are nervous about any discomfort they might feel. With modern techniques and sedation dentistry services, patients can enjoy pain-free visits to the dental office. On average, seniors should schedule at least two appointments with a dentist every year in order to catch any complications in their earliest stages. Most common oral health problems can easily be reversed as long as they are diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible.

Stick to a Healthy Diet

The foods and beverages that you consume every day have a major impact on your oral health. Foods that contain dyes and sugars will increase your risk of developing tooth decay if they are eaten regularly. You also need to eat plenty of vitamin A, vitamin D, calcium, and potassium to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Being slightly malnourished will greatly increase your risk of developing cavities and periodontal disease.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is one of the easiest ways to shield your teeth and gums from bacteria. Staying hydrated will reduce your risk of chronic dry mouth and protect the outer layer of enamel on your teeth. If you aren’t able to brush and floss after your meals, then you should try to drink as much water as possible to wash away at least some of the lingering debris.
Taking care of your oral health is one of the best investments you can make, and it will allow you to avoid a variety of major complications down the road. As with all other facets of your health, you must immediately seek out professional medical attention if you ever notice any unusual warning signs such as bleeding gums, swollen gums, toothaches, or loose teeth.

Author's Bio: 

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.