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Maintaining Dental Health with Age

At Shane McDowell Dentistry, we understand that as you grow older it can be challenging to maintain not only your health, but also your dental health! Due to our bodies’ natural aging process, seniors are more prone to suffering from certain oral health issues. Once you begin to age, it’s important to be more conscious about the way in which you take care of your teeth and gums.

Not only does taking care of your teeth include routine items such as brushing your teeth and flossing, it may take some extra attention and innovation in regard to how you take care of your dental needs. Some seniors may find their dental routine tiresome or challenging, and will need to find easier ways to take care of their mouth.

Even when you brush and floss on a regular basis, seniors can still experience some dental health challenges just from aging teeth alone: • Diminished sense of taste: Advancing age, diseases, medications and dentures can cause to this sensory loss. • Gum disease: Plaque can lead to gum disease, as well as tobacco products, poor-fitting bridges and dentures, and poorly nutritious diets. Other causes of gum disease include diseases, such as anemia, cancer and diabetes. • Tooth loss: Gum disease can cause tooth loss, as well as other diseases like Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis and Diabetes. • Dry mouth: With certain cancer treatments that use radiation to the head and neck area, as well as other treatments for diseases like Sjogren’s syndrome, the medication can cause dry mouth. • Darkened teeth: This may happen because of changes in dentin (the bone-like tissue that underlies the tooth enamel) because of a lifetime of consuming stain causing foods and beverages. • Denture-induced stomatitis: Ill-fitting dentures, poor dental hygiene of a buildup of Candida albicans (a fungus that grows both yeast and filamentous cells that cause oral infections) can infect your gum line and cause inflammation of the tissue underneath the denture. • Thrush: certain diseases and medications can cause the immune system to trigger an overgrowth of Candida albicians in the mouth and cause inflammation in the gums • Clenching and grinding teeth: often these two things are caused by stress, which also puts stress on your teeth and jaw. It can also mean your bite is unbalanced, so make a point to let us know when you visit and we will evaluate this for you.

Tips on maintaining a healthy mouth as you age: • Brush at least twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and floss once per day. • Look into different types of toothbrushes, like Sonicare, for easier and more convenient brushing. • Clean any dentures or bridges properly. You may not know it, but dental plaque actually does form on the surface of your denture. You will need to fill the washing basin with some water—this prevents you from accidentally dropping and fracturing your denture. Apply some detergent on a toothbrush and clean your dentures with soft motions. Before bedtime, immerse the cleaned denture into a cup of water overnight. • Visit our office every 6 months for a cleaning and dental check-up. When you visit, tell us about any medications you are on. • Consider visiting us for a dental check-up before and after surgery. • For darkened teeth, we offer a variety of teeth whitening treatments to get your teeth to their whitest and brightest. We also offer in-home teeth whitening kits are easy to use and achieve great results. • Only use your teeth for chewing! They are great tools, but don’t use them for removing caps, tops or lids, cracking ice cubes, nut shells or popcorn kernels, chewing on pencils and pens, loosening notes or tearing off tags, holding clothes hangers, or cutting thread. • Eat a well-rounded, nutritious diet for overall good dental health.

In order to avoid many of these things, be sure to keep up with proper dental hygiene that is listed above. A yearly dental exam that includes a complete periodontal evaluation is important to detect early onset periodontal/gum disease. At Shane McDowell, we provide the most quality dental care and cosmeceutical services, so you won’t have anything to worry about.

If you suffer from any of these dental issues above, please be sure to contact our office to set up an appointment, and we can find solutions for your dental care needs! Call or email today at 239-936-0597 or

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