Senior Health

7/11/2022 | By Family Features

You may know that the health of your mouth can affect your health overall; and you’ve surely heard the recommendations for taking care of your teeth from the time you were a toddler! But there’s an important way to take care of your teeth and gums that you may not have heard about: oral-care probiotics.

Poor oral health is common among American adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 65 million Americans have periodontitis, the most advanced form of periodontal disease. According to Harvard Medical School, people with periodontal disease have been found to be at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, and dementia.

Incorporating measures to help protect you from serious health conditions becomes increasingly important as you age. However, many people overlook a key contributor to whole body health: the mouth. The health of your mouth is directly related to important aspects of your overall health.

Bad breath, cavities, bleeding gums, and gum disease are all signs your mouth is not as healthy as it should be. Fighting the bad bacteria in your mouth that causes these health issues and more isn’t difficult, but it does require ongoing effort, from brushing regularly to adding oral-care probiotics to your daily regimen.

Related: Dental care during a pandemic

Brush and floss

You already know this, but just as a reminder: Keeping up on the basics is essential. Brushing twice daily and flossing at least once a day helps keep plaque in check and loosens debris that can promote harmful bacteria growth, causing bad breath and leading to cavities and gum concerns.

When brushing, aim for at least 30 seconds per quadrant and use circular motions with moderate (not aggressive) pressure. When flossing, maneuver the floss down to your gums then scrape the edges of each tooth with repeated upward and downward motions. An electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor and timer can help, warning you if you brush too hard (to protect the gums) and helping you brush for the full time needed.

Restore good bacteria with oral-care probiotics

happy couple dancing outdoors on a rooftop patio. Photo by Niccolo Pontigia, Dreamstime. The health of your mouth affects your health overall. Besides brushing, flossing, and visits to the dentist, oral-care probiotics can help.

Crowding out the bad, disease-causing bacteria that your toothbrush and floss can’t reach can help restore your mouth’s natural balance.

“Oral-care probiotics are designed specifically to balance the bacteria in the mouth, similar to how traditional probiotics work in the gut,” said Sam Low, D.D.S., M.S., M.Ed. and professor emeritus at the University of Florida College of Dentistry. “Oral-care probiotics can be one of the easiest and most effective ways to maintain good dental hygiene.”

For example, ProBiora’s line of oral-care probiotics contains strains of good bacteria naturally found in the mouth that, when dissolved in the mouth, allow the probiotic bacteria to migrate to the nooks and crannies of your teeth and gums where they compete with pathogens, or bad bacteria. Adding the once-a-day lozenge to your oral-care routine can help support healthier gums and teeth, along with fresher breath and whiter teeth.

Schedule regular cleanings

Like many health conditions, the earlier you catch a problem with your oral health, the better your prognosis. Catching and correcting small cavities is far less invasive than large cavities and other oral health problems like gum disease, which can be treated more effectively when they’re caught in the early stages. Aim for a dental visit at least every six months, or more often if you’re experiencing pain or other concerning symptoms.

Related: Techniques to tame dental phobias

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Family Features