It’s important to start a good dental hygiene routine at an early age in order to set the foundation for your long-term oral health, but a quality dental hygiene regimen becomes critical as you age.

Fairfax, Virginia, dentist Dr. Pamela Marzban understands the link between your oral health and your overall health, and she knows that dental care is increasingly valuable to your systemic health as you grow older. Dr. Marzban is pleased to provide senior citizens with customized attention and tips for maintaining oral health.

Dental Health and the Natural Effects of Aging

The essential habits of good dental hygiene include brushing your teeth at least twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush followed by flossing at least once a day. You should also receive a thorough dental exam and professional teeth cleaning at least once every six months.

However, even if you enjoy a healthy diet and practice good oral hygiene, your mouth will eventually show signs of aging. Your teeth may become discolored over time, and you may experience receding gums or tooth decay.

Periodontal disease also becomes more common with age, and the progressive erosion of your teeth enamel can make your teeth more vulnerable to chips and cracks. Screening for these dental health issues as well as for oral cancer becomes extremely important with age.

Tooth Loss and Aging

It’s not guaranteed that you will lose your teeth as you get older, but it does become more likely. In northern Virginia, about 13% of all people over the age of 65 have lost all their natural teeth. Good preventive care can help you stay in the 87% who retain some or all of their teeth despite their age.

If you lose teeth, you have multiple options to replace them. Dentures are the most traditional option. Partial dentures tend to be poorly retained, and they can damage neighboring teeth. Technology has dramatically improved full dentures. Modern custom dentures can be very attractive, highly functional, comfortable, and healthy.

If you have lost just one or a few teeth, a dental bridge can be a good option. They are not removable like dentures, and they are more functional. Typically, a dental bridge is a small restoration that is normally supported by dental crowns on neighboring teeth. This need for support can be a liability, but if those teeth need crowns anyway, a dental bridge may be a smart choice.

But the best tooth replacement option is a dental implant. Dental implants support themselves, are fully fixed in place, and allow you to eat all your favorite foods. Dental implants can replace one lost tooth or an entire arch of lost teeth. With proper maintenance, dental implants can last a lifetime.

Finding the right tooth replacement is an important choice. Your choice of tooth replacement can impact your quality of life and your overall health. Your nutrition, mobility, and neuromuscular health can all benefit from making the right decision.

Tips for Seniors to Maintain Oral Health

There are steps senior citizens can take to maintain oral health. Dr. Marzban will discuss specific recommendations with you based on your unique needs.

Sticking to a good dental hygiene routine of brushing and flossing is key. After you brush and floss, you may wish to rinse with an antiseptic, anticavity mouthwash in order to flush lingering food particles and kill additional bacteria.

Senior citizens who suffer from arthritis or certain motor dysfunctions may benefit from the use of an electric toothbrush. There are a number of mechanical toothbrushes on the market that are easy to hold and use, and that are as effective as manual brushing when used correctly.

If you would like to schedule your regular dental exam and professional teeth cleaning, please contact the office of Dr. Pamela Marzban. We welcome patients from the Burke, Fairfax and Fairfax Station, Virginia, areas.