Isn’t it fun to look back through history and see how our ancestors described certain attributes? To be a Spring Chicken once meant that you were young. When an adult was older, they may have been described as being “long in the tooth.” Of course, today we’ve got different descriptors that are common for all types of things, including age. But for the sake of fun, we want to run with the idea that your smile can always be a Spring Chicken.
Oral Health: The Big Picture
We often hear about dental conditions and the cosmetic impact they have on the smile. We love whitening our teeth these days, and straightening them and covering their gaps and cracks. Even tooth replacement has changed to improve the overall look and feel of the smile. But there’s much more to oral health than how we look, even than how we feel. Dental problems don’t just cause pain in the mouth; they create risk for other health conditions.
- Research demonstrates a correlation between poor oral health and an increased risk for cardiac problems. This stems from the discovery of identical bacterium in the heart and the mouth.
- It is believed that bacteria can also travel to the lungs from the mouth, where the stage gets set for infection.
- Type II diabetes is a common condition to affect older adults. When blood sugar is difficult to manage, so is gum health. Conversely, research has also concluded that gum disease inhibits the ability to manage blood sugar efficiently. Partnership with healthcare providers, including your dentist, is wise.
Raising the Bar
To keep the aging smile in tip-top condition, we need to raise the bar on the standard recommendation for oral care. Across all age groups, we know that daily oral care makes a huge impact on oral health. The thing is, as we age, we may face more risk factors for oral disease.
- Research has suggested that plaque becomes more challenging after the age of 50.
- Brushing can be difficult when the hands become stiff and painful. Oral care may be improved by using a sonic or electric toothbrush.
- Holding floss between two fingers? Forget it if you’ve got arthritis or other dexterity issues! Get the help you need through tools like flossing sticks or a water irrigator.
- Make sure that your dentures aren’t a source of bacteria. Clean them daily and do not brush with hard bristles or abrasive toothpaste.
Get personal dental care from your McLean dentist. Call 703-448-1020.