A big part of healthy aging is keeping your aging teeth healthy. After all, if you can’t chew your food well, you can’t live a healthy lifestyle and achieve everything you want to … like learning to water-ski at age 99 (and there is a man who does water ski at age 99 — look it up in a past issue of National Geographic)! While many adults are under the misconception that they no longer have to worry about cavities as they age, they are operating under a misunderstanding. The fact is that aging teeth are more susceptible to damage, such as cavities, as time passes.
Other signs of aging teeth include:
- cavities in the tooth root (due to gum erosion)
- sensitivity to hot or cold
- oral cancer
- bone loss
- receding gums
- loose teeth
Healthy Aging Tips for Your Aging Teeth
Don’t let the list of symptoms above scare you! Aging happens to all of us, whether we want it to or not. At the same time, there are practical steps you can take to support your aging teeth and keep them healthy as long as possible. In addition to visiting your dentist every six months, check out these natural solutions that support not just the health of your teeth, but your overall health as well! We are not kidding.
For instance, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, people who have periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to have heart disease. From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, this isn’t surprising since the heart governs gum health, and the tongue is considered the “root of the heart.” So oral and heart health are obviously related. Therefore, by supporting your oral health you will also be supporting your heart health!
Tip #1: Prevent Acid Erosion
If you eat a lot of sugary or starchy foods, or drink carbonated beverages, then you are setting up your aging teeth for acid erosion. These types of foods and beverages tend to cause the bacteria in your mouth to produce acid, which in turn eats away at the enamel of your teeth. Once the enamel on your teeth becomes thin or pitted, tooth decay starts to occur. Not good. How do you prevent this process from happening? Try these simple tips:
- avoid sugary or starchy foods and carbonated beverages if possible
- brush and floss at least twice daily (but wait 30 minutes if you have just eaten acidic food)
- avoid snacking all day long, which causes mouth acid to remain high all day
- if you can’t brush and floss for a while, swish with water and chew sugar free gum
- swish with mouthwash or chew gum with xylitol — the bacteria in your mouth thinks xylitol is food and will focus on that rather than attacking your teeth
Tip #2: Support Gum and Heart Health
Did you know that the tissues of your gum and the tissues of your heart are very similar? That’s why heart and gum health are so closely related. What’s more, both your heart and your gums benefit from supplementation of an enzyme called co-enzyme Q10, of CoQ10 for short. CoQ10 is not only key to cellular health and energy production, but is extremely supportive of heart health and immunity. For instance, multiple studies have revealed that supplementation of CoQ10 has remarkable results on cardiovascular health, immunity, and rejuvenation of energy-producing processes.
Supplementation with CoQ10 is especially important for healthy aging, since our bodies reduce production of CoQ10 as we age. Taking extra Q10 is also important because a stressful lifestyle can deplete our natural supplies of CoQ10. In addition, most manufacturing processes (such as the refinement of grains) remove most of the CoQ10 that naturally occurs in the foods we eat. So if you want to support your gum and heart health, add CoQ10 to your daily regimen. Studies also show that omega-3 fatty acids can support gum health, and eating foods high in omega-3’s (such as AFA blue-green algae and leafy greens) can reduce gum inflammation.
Tip #3: Prevent Dry Mouth
One of the biggest signs of aging is dry mouth. Dry mouth is often caused by certain medications. In fact, there are at least 800 known medications often taken by mature adults that list “dry mouth” as a side effect. Dry mouth can really harm aging teeth because of the reduction of the flow of saliva in the mouth. A healthy flow of saliva helps keep your teeth clean and also neutralizes mouth acid. To prevent dry mouth, chew sugarless gum (especially those fortified with xylitol) or swish with a mouthwash created specifically to prevent dry mouth.
There you have it … three simple natural solutions to support aging teeth so you can continue on the path of healthy aging. You can’t stop time, but by taking practical steps to ensure oral health you can slow the effects of time on your body!
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