We all know the basics, right? Exercise for your heart. Crossword puzzles for your brain. Fibre for your gut. Fresh air for your lungs. And calcium for your bones. Your overall well-being depends on how well you take care of all your parts. But what is something easy that you can do every day to give your whole system a boost? If your mother said it once, she said it a thousand times! Don’t forget to brush your teeth!
It’s not just about cavities any more. As we age, we often face a new set of challenges, from dry mouth caused by some medications, to gum disease and bone and tooth loss. Dentists and doctors have found connections between gum disease and heart disease. Harmful bacteria from a mouth infection can enter your blood stream. If it settles in the lungs, it can mean pneumonia. Infected teeth can lead to bone loss. Dentures and bridges that lose their fit as the years go by may cause dietary changes that result in malnutrition in seniors. Perhaps equally as bad, embarrassment over denture and chewing issues may cause your loved one to avoid social occasions, leading to isolation. Even arthritis can be a factor, if it prevents you from flossing your teeth. Here are a few tips to straighten your tooth care routine:
• Brush/floss after every meal
If you can get in the habit of brushing and flossing after every meal, you will be taking the first step in preventing plaque and tartar from developing on your teeth. Consider an electric toothbrush or use a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste and be gentle on those gums! Flossing will clean those hard-to-reach spots between your teeth and give you pearly whites and fresher breath.
• Visit Your Dentist for Routine Checkups
Not many of us like to go to the dentist, but routine visits can help to ensure that any decay or gum issue is caught early. Dentists now check your tongue and cheeks for mouth sores that might indicate oral cancer. If you smoke (Horrible for your teeth and everything else, by the way!), this is a step you do not want to skip! Plus, you might get a free toothbrush!
• Dentures are Teeth too!
Dentures are essential for anyone missing their original teeth. Keeping them clean will prevent discolouration and allow you to inspect them daily for any damage. Just like brushing, routine denture care will prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and freshen your breath! Cleaning them before bed is a great idea, as it is important to allow some time for your gums to rest. Keep them in a denture cleaner overnight. If they dry out, they can loosen and change shape. And, show your gums some love! Brush your gums just as you would your teeth, with a soft brush and toothpaste. (Freshen breath! Banish bad bacteria!)
• Drink Milk, Eat Fibre and Don’t Fear Tap Water!
Milk is an excellent source of calcium & phosphorus which works to protect and strengthen the enamel on your teeth. Many sources of fibre promote saliva production which keeps your teeth cleaner and prevents cavities. Plus, they’re yummy! Try including seeds & nuts, carrots, broccoli, peas, and potatoes into your diet. Most tap water has added fluoride, which is like a spa treatment for your teeth! And, no plastic bottle to recycle!
OK, so when you smile, the whole world might not smile with you, and a smile might not really work as an umbrella on a rainy, rainy day. But, when you smile, you activate neural messaging that impact your health. Smiling releases endorphins, helping you relax and lowering your heart rate and blood pressure.
Our caregivers understand the importance of good oral health and overall happiness. Let us help you to establish or improve your oral care routine to reap all the benefits following your mother’s advice.