Oral health is essential for people of all ages, and it becomes particularly important as we get older. Here are some tips for maintaining good oral hygiene, especially if you're experiencing tooth decay and dry mouth.
Tooth decay, also known as dental caries or cavities, occurs when the hard outer layer of your teeth, called enamel, gets damaged. Plaque is a sticky film that forms on your teeth which house bacteria and when bacteria interact with sugars and starches from the food you eat, they produce acid. If not removed through regular brushing and flossing, acids produced by the bacteria in t he plaque attack and weaken the enamel, leading to tooth decay.
Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is a condition characterized by insufficient saliva production. Saliva plays a crucial role in maintaining oral health by neutralizing acids, washing away food particles, and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. When there is a lack of saliva, it can increase the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues.
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Here are some tips to improve oral health for older people with tooth decay and dry mouth:
- Maintain good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Clean between your teeth with dental floss or inter-dental brushes to remove plaque and food debris.
- Use fluoride products: Fluoride helps strengthen your tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay. Consider using fluoride mouthwash or a fluoride gel recommended by your dentist.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to combat dry mouth. Sip water regularly, especially during meals, to help rinse away food particles and stimulate saliva production.
- Avoid tobacco and alcohol: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can worsen dry mouth and increase the risk of oral health problems. If you smoke or drink, try to quit or reduce your intake.
- Limit sugary and sour (acidic) foods: Sugary and acidic foods can contribute to tooth decay. Citric acid (lemon) is not only acidic but also a strong chelating agent which can selectively remove calcium from the tooth. Try to reduce your consumption of sugary snacks, sticky foods, carbonated drinks, and acidic fruits (citrus). Opt for healthier alternatives like fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Visit your dentist regularly: Regular dental check-ups are crucial for detecting and treating tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues. Your dentist can also recommend specific treatments or medications to manage dry mouth.
- Consider Dream Candies by Dr. Johns Healthy Sweets: If you're experiencing dry mouth, your dentist may suggest using Dream Hard Candies throughout the day to stimulate saliva production, neutralize any acid in the mouth and provide your enamel with bio-available building blocks needed for tooth protection and repair. Oh, and its delicious as well!
Remember, it's never too late to start taking care of your oral health. By following these tips and maintaining good oral hygiene practices, you can improve your dental health and overall well-being. If you have any specific concerns, don't hesitate to consult with your dentist for personalized advice and guidance.