Cavities are an issue for many older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 5 adults 65 years or older have untreated tooth decay. Ouch!
As you get older, it can get difficult to notice when you have a cavity. Your teeth may not feel as sensitive as they used to as your tooth pulp becomes calcified. That means you might not notice a new cavity as early as you used to. A great way to monitor your oral health is by going to your routine dentist appointments. Your dentist will be able to spot cavities you haven’t felt yet.
Fortunately for AAA Northeast members living in Massachusetts, Altus Dental makes it easier than ever to find an affordable coverage plan that offers a range of benefits and is widely accepted by dentists throughout the state.
Is your smile the best it can be? Here are some tips for how to fight cavities as you get older.
Maintain Your Oral Health Habits
Maintaining a good oral health routine is the first step to fighting tooth decay. It’s important to brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. Using fluoridated toothpaste when you brush your teeth will help strengthen your tooth enamel. If you want to cover all your bases, you can add fluoridated mouthwash to your routine as well.
See Your Dentist Regularly
While you should always notify your dentist if your teeth feel strange or painful, or if you have more difficulty chewing than usual, regular trips to the dentist are a must even when you don’t think anything is wrong.
You might not realize you have a cavity until the situation has become far more serious, like gum disease, severe tooth decay or even tooth loss. If you go to your routine dental appointments, your dentist will pick up on issues that you may not have noticed on your own. Getting a regular professional cleaning can also help you maintain your oral health.
Watch Out for Dry Mouth
Many older adults often take medications that can cause dry mouth as a side effect. While it can be uncomfortable, it can also be bad for your oral health.
Saliva is an important part of keeping your mouth clean and healthy, and dry mouth can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay and other complications, like gum disease. If you’re experiencing dry mouth, talk to your doctor or dentist about what you can do to remedy the situation.
Tobacco products can be very damaging for your teeth – on the inside and the outside. According to the CDC, smokers who are over 50 years old are more likely to get gum disease than people who don’t smoke. Regular use of tobacco products can cause your gumline to recede, creating the perfect storm for cavities to form in hard-to-reach places.
Drink More Water
An important part of fighting cavities as you age is easier than you might think: drink more water. Drinking water helps keep you hydrated (and can help you avoid dry mouth), but it can also rinse away lingering acid from other drinks and foods you have consumed. You could also try swapping out some drinks that aren’t so good for your teeth (juice, coffee, soda) for a nice, cold glass of water.
Altus Dental offers a variety of individual plans for patients to choose from, covering common procedures like routine exams, cleaning, fillings, root planing, dentures, crowns and more.
AAA members in Massachusetts can take advantage of exclusive rates on Altus Dental plans. Get your custom rate today.