Want to age gracefully? Here’s how to clean your teeth and gums, maintain oral health and strong set of dents

Know the correct way to brush your teeth and floss well so that you are able to maintain good oral health as you age. (Photo: Pixabay)

Healthy teeth and gums are essential if you wish to have healthy, happy twilight years where movement, mobility, balance, appetite, cognitive skills and enjoyment – none are compromised.
As we age, our body goes through several changes physically. The body withers with age and every organ begins slowing. A set of healthy gums and teeth make it easy for you to eat well and enjoy good food. Several problems can affect the health of your mouth, but good care should keep your teeth and gums strong as you age. Apart from the fact that you will look pretty in your family photographs, that is.

How to clean your teeth and gums the right way every day:

The best way to keep your gums in good shape is to take good care of your teeth.

  1. There is a debate about whether one should floss first or brush. Some argue that the order in which floss and brush don’t matter, others claim that flossing first makes brushing your teeth more effective by removing food that gets trapped between teeth.
  2. Clean between your teeth with dental floss, pre-threaded flosser, a water flosser, or a similar product – to remove plaque and leftover food that a toothbrush can’t reach. Rinse after you floss.
  3. Gently brush your teeth on all sides with a soft-bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste.
  4. Use small circular motions and short back-and-forth strokes, gently along your gum line.
  5. Lightly brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper to help keep your mouth clean.
  6. Don’t drag the brush till its bristles fray out, flatten, bend or fall off. Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.

Arthritis limiting hand motion, impeding hold on the toothbrush?

  1. It’s good to use a non-mechanised brush if your hands cooperated but do not shy away from choosing an electric or battery-operated toothbrush if arthritis or similar painful conditions are limiting the range of motion of your hands.
  2. Buy a toothbrush with a larger handle and secure the toothbrush handle to your hand with a wide elastic band.
  3. Don’t ignore small changes to your mouth as routine. See your dentist if brushing or flossing causes your gums to bleed or hurts your mouth.
  4. If you have trouble flossing, ask the dentist about using a floss holder and request her/him to show you the right way to floss.

Additional tips on oral hygiene:

  1. Have you just recovered from an illness or beaten an infection? You must avoid harboring germs by replacing your toothbrush at the beginning and end of your illness.
  2. Occasionally, if you don’t have floss and find some food particles stuck between the teeth, a toothpick will work to remove the stray food bits, but be gentle. Also, if food gets routinely stuck between teeth, there may be a larger problem that needs a referral to the dentist.
  3. If your favorite coffee brew, red wine, or other tooth-staining food and drink is leaving stains on your pearly whites, try brushing baking soda on your teeth twice a month. Apply it with fingers and rub along the teeth and gums or brush it in just like you would toothpaste, then rinse away to help brighten your smile.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness program or making any changes to your diet.