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3 Things You Should Do to Protect Your Teeth Later in Life

3ThingsYouShouldDotoProtectYourTeethLaterinLife

Entering your “sunset” years doesn't mean you're washed up—you still have a lot to offer the world. That's why the theme for this May's Older Americans Month (sponsored by the Administration for Community Living) is “Make Your Mark.” And to really make that difference, you'll have to maintain your health—including protecting your teeth from loss.

Once upon a time, it was considered the norm for older adults to experience tooth loss and the resulting consequences on their overall well-being. Today, though, not only can advanced restorations lessen the impact of lost teeth, it's also more likely that you can keep your teeth intact for the rest of your life.

To give your teeth their best chance for survival in your later years, here are 3 things you can do to promote their continuing health.

Brush and floss every day. Ridding your teeth of disease-causing plaque on a daily basis is important at any age, but perhaps even more so as you get older. However, hand weakness caused by arthritis or another health condition can make it more difficult to brush and floss. It may help to use a larger-handled toothbrush or an electric toothbrush, and a threading device may help with flossing. If manual flossing is still too difficult, you can try a water flosser that emits a water stream to loosen and flush plaque away.

Relieve chronic dry mouth. Older adults are more prone to chronic dry mouth because of increased use of medications, many of which interfere with saliva flow. It's more than an unpleasant feeling: Deprived of the protective properties of saliva, your mouth is at increased risk of dental disease. If dry mouth is a problem for you, speak with your doctor about alternatives to any saliva-inhibiting medications you're taking. Also, drink more water and use saliva boosters to promote better saliva flow.

Keep up dental visits. Regular dental visits become even more important as you age. Dental cleanings are especially necessary, particularly if you have dental work that can interfere with plaque removal during brushing and flossing. Disease monitoring and screening are more in-depth for older adults who are more prone to tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer. And if you wear dentures, you should have them checked regularly for fit and overall condition.

If you've already enjoyed decades of dedicated dental care, you need only stay the course. But even if you haven't, adopting new dental care habits now can boost your teeth's health and longevity. To get started, make an appointment with us: We'll assess your current dental health and offer a care strategy for keeping your teeth healthy through the next exciting season of your life.

If you would like more information about dental care for older adults, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Aging & Dental Health” and “Understanding Aging Makes Beauty Timeless.”

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  • "Great dentist -- I've had multiple procedures at his practice -- cleanings, fillings, and crowns -- all work has been excellent. The entire crew at Capitol Dental makes going to the dentist a pleasure -- how often can you say that?"
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  • "Dr. Haroian is an outstanding dentist. I've been seeing him for 13 years and can't imagine going to anyone else. I highly recommend him."
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  • "Dr. Haroian is a great dentist. He is personable and makes the visit enjoyable. He goes above and beyound to ensure the proper care for my teeth. If you are looking for an effective trustwothy dentist, I highly recommend Dr. Haroian."
    Mike B.
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  • "My family and I have been going to Gregory Haroian for all of our dentistry needs since 2004. My husband and I and our four children are all clients. Appointments are on-time. The staff is helpful and personable, and we have always had great results. Thanks Greg!"
    Karen R.
  • "I have used Dr Haroian as my dentist most of my adult life. Also my family including my wife and two children. His office has always been an excellent place to receive dental care. I would and have recommended him to all my friends and family."
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