Once a woman reaches 40, she may face a host of different health challenges, such as hair loss, frequent UTI’s, and menopause.
But oral health holds an essential place in the trajectory of health in women over 40.
Oral health directly affects other areas of our bodies, such as our brain and heart. As a woman ages, it’s vital to pay attention to the health of your teeth and gums to keep the rest of your body in shape.
If you’re a woman over 40, read on to find out ways to properly manage your changing oral health.
Stay Consistent With Proper Oral Routine
One of the best ways to maintain your smile is to continue an oral routine.
Keep brushing twice a day, two times a day, for two minutes to remove plaque and other particles for healthy teeth and gums. An electric toothbrush can be helpful to reach every area of the mouth, especially if you have arthritis. Don’t forget to brush your tongue and gums, too.
Be especially diligent about flossing, because it prevents cavities and gum disease, You can floss any time of the day.
Eating The Right Foods
Good nutrition is key to cultivating a healthy mouth. Certain foods benefit oral health and others that are problematic.
Foods to Eat For A Healthy Mouth
- Fruits And Vegetables: fruits and vegetables contain vital nutrients that promote oral health
- Grains: oatmeal and whole grains are good choices. Stay away from any processed or refined grains.
- Dairy: aim for low-fat options
- Lean Proteins and Seafood: Choose proteins such as chicken and seafood, and plant proteins like legumes, peas, and eggs
Foods to Avoid
- Sugary foods like sodas and energy drinks
- Citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges should be used sparingly, as the acid content can wear away at the enamel, otherwise known as erosion.
Aging brings some not-so-pretty features and specific ailments. Normal wear and tear are expected in oral health, but there are a few key oral diseases to watch out for.
Gum disease is an infection of the gumline. It begins as gingivitis and if not properly treated can evolve into periodontitis, which is much more severe and difficult to treat. The onset of periodontitis can lead to a risk of heart and lung disease.
Gum disease can strike without any symptoms, so regular check-ups are essential but contact your dentist if you are experiencing any of these symptoms below:
- bleeding gums
- receding gums
- loose teeth
- bad breath
Sensitive teeth can be defined as sensitive feeling too hot and cold foods on your teeth. Several factors cause sensitive teeth:
- gum disease
- worn tooth enamel
Sensitivity is easy to treat, and your dentist may recommend a desensitising toothpaste to start.
If you begin missing teeth, the problem is often fixable. People begin losing or missing teeth for various reasons such as gum disease or decay.
Talk to your dentist about your options for replacing missing teeth.
Staining is a normal part of aging teeth, as teeth darken as we age. It’s not always dangerous, but it can be frustrating.
Teeth whitening is very common in women over 40 who want to brighten their smile, and dentists are happy to talk about your teeth whitening options.
Otherwise known as oropharyngeal cancer, this can strike any area in the mouth – throat, lips, gums, cheeks, or jaw. If oral cancer is caught early, there is treatment available.
Here are some symptoms of oral cancer:
- chronic mouth sores that bleed
- lumps or hard spots in the mouth
- numbness or tenderness to touch
- changes in biting down
Oral cancer is preventable with good oral habits.
Visit Your Dentist
Regular check-ups with your dentist are the greatest way to halt tooth decay and disease and make sure your oral hygiene habits are effective. Even if you are midway into a disease, a dentist can steer you in the direction of healing.
If you’re smoking, any time is a good time to quit! Smoking destroys your immune system, and smokers have twice the chance of developing gum disease than non-smokers.
Tobacco in any form – cigarettes, chewing, and others – elevates your risk of disease.
Besides gum disease and oral cancers, smoke affects other parts of your body:
- stained teeth
- loss of smell and taste
- makes fixing dental issues more problematic
Get Those Dentures Fixed!
Denture sets do not last forever. They need to be replaced to keep your gums healthy.
Even if you wear dentures, you still need to care for your mouth and gums, by brushing them every day as well as the roof of your mouth.
Rinse and brush your dentures daily with a soft bristle brush to prevent bacteria build up.
Medications and Oral Health
Certain drugs can cause problems to your oral health.
Dry mouth is the most common symptom associated with oral health and medications. Saliva aids the mouth in keeping it clean and neutralising acids that are caused by plaque buildup. If there is a lack of saliva production, these acids can harm your enamel, increasing your risk of tooth decay.
For people that use inhalers, they are at risk for developing an infection called oral candidiasis, or thrush. Thrush is recognised by painful white spots on the mouth and tongue. To prevent thrush, rinse your mouth after using your inhaler.
Certain cancer treatments can impact your oral health. Be sure to meet with your dentist before beginning any cancer treatment. They can check to make sure your teeth are healthy and offer advice on how to maintain your proper hygiene.