Taking Care of Your Teeth As You Age

Keeping your teeth healthy and in shape is the key to a great smile and you can take it all the way to retirement too! Scientists have also proven that by ensuring your teeth are healthy, the rest of your body will follow suit – this can help prevent heart disease and strokes.

Brushing your teeth regularly is the obvious way to keep your teeth in check but be careful not to brush too hard as this may cause your gums to bleed and damaged gums are usually irreversible. Brushing for a couple of minutes twice a day will reduce bacteria in your teeth and help prevent decay. Flossing your teeth is important too as this will clean the parts between your teeth, which are probably the most important parts of all. Avoiding soft drinks and other sugary foods is undoubtedly more important as you get older because your teeth will not be able to tolerate their effects as well as when you were younger.

Some people are also guilty of grinding their teeth and do it more often than they should. Grinding your teeth can chip them and wear them down so it is important to avoid this practice. You may also notice that your teeth grow darker in colour as you get older. There are various teeth whitening products that can be found in supermarkets and cosmetic dentists to combat this.

As time goes by the sensitivity of teeth also increases and can make brushing more awkward. However there are certain toothpastes available which target this problem and eliminate it. You just have to use them for about a minute and the sensitivity should go.

Arthritis is a disease that can affect a lot of elderly people and can make brushing your teeth more difficult. Electric toothbrushes can help with this as they do some of the work, reducing pressure on joints. It is also advised to consult your dentist, as they can offer the best advice for individual sufferers.

Losing your teeth can be another problem as you age and replacing them is important for retaining confidence. Dentures are the most obvious and cheapest solution to this. They come in two varieties, complete and partial.

Complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing or removed due to decay, broken teeth or severe gum disease. They are placed in the mouth approximately eight to twelve weeks after the removal of the original teeth, after the gums have healed. You can get temporary dentures to wear during the gum healing process so that you don’t lack any teeth, but these require constant adjustments due to the gums changing shape over time.

Partial dentures are used to replace specific teeth and are usually easy to remove. Replacement teeth are attached to a gum coloured base that can be held in the mouth with denture glue or a metal frame.

A good alternative to dentures is dental implants, which have more support in the mouth, as they are permanently fixed into the gums and feel more like real teeth. They are however more expensive and are not recommended for everyone. Your dentist will know if you are a suitable candidate for implants, so it is best to ask them for advice. In order to create the implant they will create a cut in your gum and then drill a small hole into the jawbone, where the implant will go. It is important to only eat soft foods for a day after the surgery and avoid brushing the implant area until its ready.

Taking care of your teeth as you age is so important and by following all these steps you will ensure that yours remain healthy and looking good.


  1. Absolutely! I wrote an article awhile back about how tooth decay can cause heart disease. Dental hygiene is essential.

  2. Excellent article! Many years ago I worked for a cardiologist who also said the same thing. (I had asked him a question about heart valve vegetation and its relationship to dental caries, having heard him mention it in a dictation.)

    The only drawback I have seen to dentures has been in my own father and hubby's father. Toward the end of their lives, the dentures no longer fit properly and thus made for painful wearing and eating. I'm not sure if it was from their particular illnesses or if everyone's mouth changes shape as they age.

    Can't say I'd want a mouth full of implants, either, though. Sounds too much like a root canal! =(

    Best option - floss and brush every day, and visit your dentist at least twice a year! :-D