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Rewinding the Years: Dental Care Tips for Older Adults


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Rewinding the Years: Dental Care Tips for Older Adults

Once my children were grown and on their own, I decided it was time to care of me. One of the first things I did was make an appointment with the dentist. I quickly discovered that years of not keeping up with my own dental care had taken a heavy toll on my teeth. Whereas I thought my teeth were just fine, the dentist pointed out several problems that were going to require a lot of work. When talking to friends, I found out that many of them were in the same boat. This blog is for people like me who just did not have time to keep up with their own dental care.

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If you have recently received porcelain crowns, you may wonder if there is anything special you need to do or not do to properly take care of them. If so, make sure you avoid the following mistakes that could damage your crowns.

Using Your Teeth as a Tool

Whenever you need help opening a package, you may turn to your teeth to help give you the strength and leverage to assist. After all, they are always there, so you do not have to go searching for a pair of scissors. However, using your teeth as a tool to open things can severely damage them. Just like your regular teeth, the increased pressure can crack the crowns, making it necessary to repair or replace them.

Grinding or Clenching Your Teeth

Whether or not you do it consciously or subconsciously, grinding or clenching your teeth is another habit you need to address if you want to keep your crowns intact. When you grind your teeth while you sleep or clench your jaw when you are stressed or angry, the pressure and friction can either crack or wear down the porcelain surface.

If you clench your jaw, try to be mindful of the reflex. When you feel your facial muscles tensing up, make a conscious effort to relax them and relieve the pressure on your crowns. However, if you have bruxism and tend to grind your teeth while you are sleeping, speak with your dentist about being fitted for a mouthguard you can wear to bed. The guard provides a cushion between your teeth that protects the crowns. 

Biting or Chewing Hard Foods or Objects

If you enjoy eating hard candies or tend to chew the ice when you buy a fountain drink, you are putting your crowns at risk for damage. Because you have to bite down forcibly on the hard surfaces, your crowns could crack or chip at any time. Also, if you nervously bite your fingernails or chew on your pencil, these habits can also damage your crowns. If you chew on your pencil, make an effort to put the pencil down when you are not using it to avoid the temptation.

To help get out of the nail-biting habit, mix cayenne pepper with water, then apply it to the tips of your fingernails. If you mindlessly start to chew your nails, the hot, spicy flavor acts as a reminder to stop. Avoiding the above mistakes can help prevent damage to your crowns so that they last longer. For more information about taking care of your porcelain crowns, speak with your dentist or go to sites like this one.