St. Paul Family Dentist Explains How to Maintain Healthy Teeth and Gums as you Age

Written by Drs. Mark and Rachel Malterud on Jul 31, 2012

Our dental health needs change constantly as we age. You may have noticed that, as you’ve reached retirement years, you have to be more diligent with you oral health. It’s a fact of life that, after years of brushing and general wear, you will experience some loss of enamel. This loss can cause sensitivity as well as discoloration of your teeth as the yellowish dentin under the enamel begins to show through.

Of course, you should continue to brush and floss regularly. Brushing at least twice a day and after meals if possible will help to keep up with the removal of food particles that can cause bacteria to form leading to periodontal disease. Your Highland Park St. Paul General Dentist recommends that you use a soft bristle brush to reduce further wear of enamel or gum recession. If you’ve noticed that your teeth have become more sensitive over the years, ask your dentist for a recommendation for toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth.

As you age you should also be aware of the type of foods you eat and how they affect your teeth and gums. Since some yellowing of the teeth is normal as we age, it is wise to avoid foods or drinks that will leave stains on the teeth such as red wine, coffee, soda, and black tea. Years of tobacco use will also lead to discoloration of your teeth. Curtailing the use of tobacco products can help greatly.

Avoid sticky and acidic foods since they also lead to tooth decay and loss of tooth enamel. This includes sticky or very sweet foods like gummy candies and soda. Acid reflux is also another condition that can hasten the loss of tooth enamel. Try to avoid the types of foods that you know will trigger acid reflux.

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums as you age is certainly not impossible, but you do need to be sure to maintain your overall health and be diligent with your at-home oral health care routine. Make regular appointments with your St. Paul General Dentist for professional cleanings and checkups to stay ahead of any oral health issues that may develop and to help maintain a beautiful, healthy smile for many years to come.