We all know that it’s important for kids to take good care of their teeth. But when careers and family take up most of our time, oral health can sometimes fall short.
In an article in the New York Times Well blog, Tara Parker-Pope provides tips for a “midlife tuneup,” stating that “our health needs change with every passing decade, but the good news is that it’s never too late to start taking better care of yourself.”
In a broad list of suggestions to stay healthy, the article includes oral health tips, observing that losing “teeth and getting dentures is no longer an inevitable part of aging” thanks to “better hygiene and fluoridation.” As people age, “the rules for proper dental care” remain the same, the article states, “brush and floss regularly and avoid sweets and sodas, hard candies and caramels to keep your teeth healthy.”
Still, aging can bring unique oral health challenges, including “dry mouth as a side effect” of medications, which “makes teeth more vulnerable to decay.” In addition, “bone loss can make teeth less stable and receding gums expose roots to tooth decay.”
However, the “biggest challenge” to maintaining oral health with aging is cost, the article says, noting “Medicare typically doesn’t cover dental procedures, and only about 10 percent of retirees have dental benefits from their former employer.” Given this, “prevention is key,” the article says.