In addition to pain and difficulty chewing food, dental problems can actually put those who suffer from them at serious risk for many other health conditions. In fact, the bacteria that cause swollen or bleeding gums, bad breath, and tooth pain, can also enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body causing disease. These bacteria have been linked to many conditions such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, respiratory infections and many other health problems.

However, these dental problems and the health conditions related to them are not an inevitable part of aging. Broken, decayed teeth, tooth and bone loss, and swollen infected gums, are all highly preventable, and it’s vital to take the steps to help eliminate destructive bacteria and restore better oral health.

Although most people are aware that regular brushing and flossing are key to good oral health, as aging occurs several other factors can contribute to the challenge of maintaining their healthy smiles. Many commonly prescribed medications and illnesses can limit saliva production. Yet, saliva plays an important role in clearing food and sugar residue left after eating and drinking, and also helps to lubricate and protect gum tissues. Chewing sugar-free gum may help stimulate greater saliva flow, but it may be most helpful to speak with a doctor about exploring other medication options.

Additionally, a healthy diet is especially important with aging. Although worn, broken or missing teeth can make it difficult to chew foods like meats, vegetables, or nuts, many softer foods are high in sugar and salt, and lacking in key nutrients. Diets that contain good sources of protein, vitamins and minerals can protect against malnutrition, strengthen immune systems and protect against chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Since bacteria thrive on sticky, sugary foods, it’s advisable to limit the consumption of them.

Regardless of age, everyone wants to look good, feel good, and have the confidence of a healthy smile. That’s why it’s crucial to make dental care a priority, and see a dentist for routine checkups and cleanings. A dentist can examine teeth and gums to help ensure they remain in good health, and to provide information for care for those with special needs.

If would like more information about caring for your teeth or for the teeth of someone you love, Dr. Heidi Finkelstein and her caring staff at My Plantation Dentist can help. To schedule your appointment, please contact us today at 954-584-1030.

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