If you reached your 60th birthday, only to start getting more cavities, you're not alone. Many people reach their golden years and realize they've got a problem with cavities. That's because the older you get, the more susceptible to tooth damage you become. Dry mouth is a common ailment for people over the age of 60. Unfortunately, dry mouth can increase your risk of cavities and gum disease. Luckily, there are some things you can do to reduce the occurrence of these dental problems. Here are four steps to take that will help you protect your teeth.
Know Your Medications
You might not realize this, but if you're taking medication on a regular basis – which many people over the age of 60 are – you could be at risk for dry mouth. That's because dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications. Whenever you receive a new medication, find out what the side effects are. If one of them is dry mouth, ask your doctor if there is a different medication you can take for the same ailment.
Drink More Water
As you age, your mouth stops producing saliva like it used to. The reduced saliva production makes your mouth even more dry, which adds to your risk of dental problems. If you notice your mouth drying out more often during the day, it's time to drink more water. Try to keep a bottle of water on you at all times. That way, you can take a drink of water whenever you feel your mouth drying out.
Use a Humidifier in Your Room
If dry mouth prevents you from sleeping through the night, try sleeping with a humidifier in your room. If you sleep with your mouth open, the lack of moisture in the air could be doing even more damage to your gums and teeth. A humidifier will add essential moisture to the air which will help keep your mouth from drying out while you sleep.
Talk to Your Dentist
If you've noticed an increase in cavities now that you've reached 60 years of age, it's time to talk to your dentist about additional treatment. Your dentist may recommend that you make sure your drinking water is fluoridated. They may also be able to apply a protective gel sealant to your teeth, which will protect your teeth from additional cavities. It's also important that you remember to see your dentist, or Smile Makers Dental, at least twice a year.