Saturday, November 9, 2013

Teeth and Aging: Health Concerns for People Between 40 and 60

Taking care of your teeth is important at any age, but if you're between 40 and 60, you may have some health concerns you didn't have when you were younger. As an adult, dental care becomes more than just a yearly trip to the dentist: now, changes in your mouth could have a direct effect on other part of your body. Studies have found links between oral health and:

· Cancers

· Strokes

· Heart attacks

· Blood clots

· Infections

· Viruses

So if you're reaching an age where health concerns are a more common element of your day, it's time to pay attention to your teeth. Healthy teeth and gums give you a lot more than a pretty smile.

Adult Dental Care and the Baby Boomer Crowd

When you're an adult, your dental care starts to include some new steps. We're offering you some dental health tips and tricks to keep your mouth happy and healthy.

1. Schedule regular oral cancer screenings. For most people, oral cancer won't be a concern until after you turn 40. Even if you wear dentures, you should still schedule a screening, as pain isn't necessarily a symptom of oral cancer.

2. Pay closer attention to pain. Healthy teeth and gums allow you to eat natural foods that are high in protein and vitamins. Supplements are helpful, of course, but fresh fruit and crunchy vegetables are best for keeping yourself healthy. If you feel sharp pains or dull throbs in your teeth, visit a dentist. It's better to fill a cavity than to pull a tooth, and it's better to pull one tooth than all of them.

3. Start flossing more regularly. Flossing can help eliminate a number of dental health concerns. By flossing regularly, you eliminate debris and bacteria that can build up between your teeth. For extra measure, consider using a fluoride rinse as well. Fluoride can keep your teeth strong.

4. Make sure to see your dentist. When you're in your 40s or 50s, an annual exam is the right move. When you're in your 60s, start visiting your dentist every six months.

5. Get friendly with your gums. Infections in the gums are not only painful, but they have been linked to more serious health concerns throughout the body. If your gums seem discolored or swollen, you could have periodontal disease. In fact, many people in their 50s have some form of gum disease, since your gums will wear out with age, too.

6. Check the side effects of your medications. One of the more common side effects of prescription medication is dry mouth. Without saliva helping to wash out debris, you're more like to develop cavities. For healthy teeth and gums, try sucking on sugarless hard candies or chewing sugarless gum to get that saliva flowing again. And let your dentist know: he or she might be able to recommend a good mouth wash or change to your routine to fix the issue.

By following these dental health tips, you're working to keep your teeth longer, and to keep your gums healthier. Adult dental care doesn't have to be hard, but you should speak with a dentist about the best way to start your new oral health routine. Together, the two of you can design a plan that will keep you laughing and smiling for a long, long time.

Dr. Goldberg of Howell Dental Associates received his D.D.S. from University of Maryland at Baltimore. He is a member of the American Dental Association, the New Jersey Dental Association, the Jersey Coast Dental Forum, and the Seattle Study Club. His pursuit of continuing education annually exceeds state requirements including the Mid-Atlantic Dental Implant Center and a 2003-2004 Residency in Implant Prosthetics.
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