Watch Your Mouth – For Dental Health

phoenix_cosmetic_dentistWhile some of the changes that happen as we grow older are inevitable, there are others that you and your dentist can slow down or stop. “Receding gums is what most people think of as a sign of aging,” says Dr. Carol Ford from her Phoenix dental practice, “but there are two significant items you can watch out for and mention to your dentist to increase your chances of better health.”

Plaque          

Plaque buildup is bad for your general health, not just because it allows bacteria to multiply, but because those bacteria can cause heart disease and inflammation in your body.  As you age, arthritis or other mobility problems may make it harder for you to brush and floss.

“The best way to keep your teeth sparkling clean is to have a hygienist clean them for you,” says Dr. Ford. “A hygienist will have the correct tools and patience to use them gently to give you the best results,” Dr. Ford adds.

Medication

Many medications can cause a change in the way you experience your food. Taste buds and your sense of smell combine to create your sense of taste, and a lack of taste may bring on a change in your diet. If food doesn’t have subtle tastes, it’s likely that the food choices will be for the taste-bud basics we like—salty and sweet. The food most likely to bring us those tastes—chips and candy—don’t create a balanced diet.

Medications also can cause dry mouth, says the website Simple Steps to Better Dental Health. “If you aren’t producing enough saliva to move the plaque away from your mouth, you’ll have more decay,” says Dr. Ford. “That’s why drinking water is especially important as you age.”  If it’s not possible to brush after every meal, chewing sugarless gum containing Xylitol can help. Chewing gum helps you produce saliva and Xylitol is a sweetener that does not promote cavities.

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