Senior adults tend to neglect their oral health as they get older, but it’s actually even more important to take care of the mouth at that age. There are some unique dangers to oral health that begin to occur, as well as dental care practices that seniors should perform regularly.
Oral health risks for seniors
- Gum disease – receding gums are a common problem for seniors. Roots can become exposed and root decay is a hazard. Signs of root decay include notches around the gum line or a yellowish color to the area.
- Dry mouth – medications can cause a lack of saliva. This creates an environment for cavities and other dental problems.
- Lack of fluoride – teeth need fluoride to help them remain strong and prevent tooth decay. Seniors should consider getting fluoride treatments at the dentist, and drinking fluoridated tap water instead of bottled water.
- Tooth stains – plaque buildup leads to yellowed, stained teeth. To avoid plaque accumulation, consistent brushing and flossing is necessary.
- Diet – seniors tend to eat softer foods as they grow older, which may lack important nutrients and have too many sugars and carbohydrates. Taking daily vitamins helps, as well as making good diet choices for oral health.
- Arthritis – many seniors have arthritis that reduces mobility and makes it harder to perform tasks like brushing teeth and flossing.
Dental practices for seniors
- Checkups – maintain dental visits every six months. It is vital for good oral health, since problems can be identified early enough to prevent extensive treatment or further complications.
- Type of toothbrush – seniors may consider using an electric toothbrush instead of a standard manual one. They are easy to use and especially helpful to those with arthritis or decreased mobility.
- Denture care – many denture wearers use a temporary repair kit from the local drugstore. However, professional denture checkups are recommended to ensure dentures fit properly and are maintained well.
- Dental implants – seniors with missing teeth may ask the dentist about dental implants instead of dentures, which provide a very natural feeling and appearance.
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Aging can have significant effects on your body, including oral health. Good dental care is essential for maintaining dental and general health. It’s not unusual for seniors to struggle with dental problems like gum disease or dry mouth, and some will have lost teeth. The following hints will help keep your teeth and gums healthy. Those caring for seniors may also find these tips beneficial.
- Make sure oral care at home is excellent. If you find you forget to brush and floss, try placing reminders in visible areas in your bathroom.
- Choose a soft bristled toothbrush. It’s a mistake to choose a brush with hard bristles as this could damage your gums. Instead pick a soft bristled toothbrush and make sure you change it regularly.
- If you wear dentures ensure they are thoroughly cleaned each day, using cleaners designed for this purpose. Toothpaste and household cleaners are too harsh and could damage your denture.
- Visit your dentist in Weston twice a year or as frequently as recommended. These appointments enable your dentist to detect any problems when they are far less advanced and easier to treat.
- Tell your dentist about any prescription and nonprescription medications as these can influence oral health. For example certain medications, including antidepressants and medications for Parkinson’s or Sjögren’s can cause dry mouth.
- If you notice any changes to your oral health, contact your dentist in Weston, FL for an appointment. Don’t ignore the problem as it could get worse and more difficult to treat.
- Maintain a healthy diet full of plenty of vitamins and minerals. This will help your teeth and gums stay strong and healthy.