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Keeping teeth healthy on a budget after 60

It is one of the anomalies of life that once we have retired and our income has dwindled we often need to spend far more on our healthcare than ever before. Workplace health and dental insurance schemes are a thing of the past and many people struggle to pay the premiums for even the most rudimentary dental cover.

However, savvy over-60s have found a way of keeping their teeth healthy by incorporating a few simple changes into their lives - from everyday routines that form the basis of health habits, to saving a fortune on dental bills by including their dental care on their trips abroad. In fact, it is estimated that hundreds and thousands of Americans do this, especially those in the Southern States who regularly visit a Mexico dentist for all their dental care.

Tooth Loss is not an inevitable consequence of old age

Not so long ago the common assumption was that tooth loss was a natural result of getting old. However, advances in science and healthcare means it is no longer the case and developing a simple routine can ensure your teeth last as long as you do!

Brush and Floss twice daily

You’ve heard this mantra often. It is repeated by dental health professionals time and time again – and that’s because it really is the simplest way to get rid of the unhealthy bacteria that form acid-producing plaque.

Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste not only removes these harmful bacteria, but also forms a protective surface on the teeth that bacteria can’t stick to. However, as beneficial as brushing is, it cannot reach everywhere in your mouth, which is why flossing is so important to sweep away any trapped particles of food that may be lodged between your teeth, providing a perfect breeding ground for bacteria to colonize.

Watch out for tooth-unfriendly food and drinks

Most of us are aware that sugar is public enemy number one as far as our teeth are concerned, but some food and drinks are worse than others, causing double the trouble:

Sticky toffees and candy coat the teeth providing ideal conditions for bacteria to stick to, and chewing hard candies can also damage the teeth by causing fractures.

Fizzy drinks and sodas also coat the teeth in a sugary, sticky coating ripe for bacteria and also have a high acidic content which is damaging to tooth enamel. Even starchy foods, such as bread, are acid-producing, as well as citrus fruits.

It is best to consume these foods and drinks with a meal, rather than consume them throughout the day, which causes a permanent acid bath in your mouth. Your mouth produces the most saliva when eating a meal, which helps to wash harmful acids away. Another way of minimizing harm is to drink milk or eat cheese after consuming sugar or starch as these are alkaline which counteracts the acid.

Keep Dry Mouth at Bay

Dry mouth is a common symptom as we get older, usually as a side-effect of medication used for high blood pressure or other age-related diseases. Dry mouth is not only uncomfortable but may also lead to cavities, as saliva cleanses the mouth of harmful bacteria and substances. Combat dry mouth by:

  • Drinking plenty of water

  • Using over-the-counter oral sprays or moisturizers

  • Consulting with your doctor about changing your medication or dosage

  • Chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production

Visit the dentist regularly

Visiting the dentist regularly is an important part of maintaining a good oral health care regime. Your dentist will often be able to spot small problems and start you on a course of treatment to correct them before they become much bigger (and more expensive) ones.

But what happens if you are faced with major dental work and a major dental bill that is simply unaffordable? Either you will have to find the money somehow; forego the work or find a cheaper alternative.

Dental Care Abroad

This is becoming a palatable option for many people nowadays. Used to visiting foreign lands and with globalization making the world a much smaller place, many are seeing the benefits of visiting dentists abroad when they arrange their holidays. And why not? There are good-quality providers across the world if you do your research properly and if you are planning a holiday to, say, Thailand then it’s worth bearing in mind that a Thailand dentist will save you around 70% on the prices you’d pay at home.

Keeping your teeth healthy after 60 need not be too hard a task. Take a little time to look after them, and if you do need work doing, why not do it as part of your holiday and enjoy the experience?

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