Every part of the body ages.  Teeth are no exception.  As one grows older, special care must be taken to ensure that the teeth will be healthy and in good working order for years to come.  Your Waco dentist, Dr. Corbit Locke, discusses steps that should be taken to ensure that you have healthy teeth well into older age.

Avoid Sugary Food and Drinks

Sugary and starchy foods feed the bacteria that cause tooth decay.  The naturally-occurring mouth bacteria consume sugars, metabolizing sucrose into acid that can damage tooth enamel.  Left untreated, tooth decay can quickly set in.  While sugary candy can do harm, an even bigger culprit is sugary carbonated sodas and soft drinks. Between the sugar and the carbonation, your teeth receive a double dose of acid.  Even worse than soft drinks, however, might just be sports drinks.  Recent studies have suggested a strong correlation between those types of drinks and tooth decay.  It is best to avoid too much snacking, and to use sugarless gum when a desire for something sweet arises.

Steer Clear of Hard Foods

Even strong teeth can be vulnerable to hard foods. While teeth are generally resistant to chipping and cracking, these things do happen, particularly on teeth that have a filling or have had a root canal procedure.  If possible, avoid aggressively chewing on hard foods, and make sure that pits or other potential hazards have been remove from soft  foods before biting down.

Prevent Gum Disease

Gum disease is another cause for concern as people age.  Gum problems are caused by bacterial infections.  Left untreated, this bacteria can inflame and permanently damage the gums.  Extreme cases can even eventually damage the jawbone.  Tooth loss can then follow.  Brushing and flossing regularly helps to remove the dangerous bacteria and keep gums healthy.

See Your Dentist About Dry Mouth

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is another common problem as people age.  However, for many sufferers, it is not a natural condition.  Instead, it is a side effect of numerous drugs, many taken by the elderly.  Saliva naturally removes much of the dangerous bacteria and acid from the mouth before they can begin to do harm.  If saliva flow is reduced, there is nothing to keep the bacteria from thriving.  Patients suffering from dry mouth need to see their doctors quickly.

Of course, the best way to ensure that teeth remain healthy for the long term is regular visits to the dentist.  Having a regularly scheduled checkup every six months will ensure that any problems are found well before becoming a threat. Schedule an appointment by calling our Waco dentist office at (254) 776-4888. We welcome patients from Waco, Woodway, McGregor, Hewitt, the 76712 zip code, and surrounding communities.