October 9th, 2014
As a senior, it’s even more imperative to practice good oral hygiene. As the body ages, more issues can arise that create problems with the gums and teeth. However, by following some simple oral hygiene tips and visiting your dentist on a regular basis, seniors can help keep their teeth healthy for longer and shining bright.
There are a few problems that most seniors should be aware of and do their best to prevent.
All seniors (and non-seniors) should be aware and ready to fight gum disease. As a senior, you have an even higher risk of developing gum disease when dentures or bridges are being used.
Even with the best oral hygiene, a lifetime of consuming foods and beverages that can stain your teeth or harm your enamel will have a negative effect on your teeth. While there are preventative steps you can take, darkened teeth can be harder to battle when you are older. Aim to keep teeth white and clean for as long as possible.
Diseases, medications, and dentures can all attribute to a diminished sense of taste. This is something to talk to your dentist about if it becomes a concern.
Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. If you are experiencing loose teeth, inflamed gums, or bleeding gums, consult your dentist immediately.
There are many cases of dry mouth with seniors. Much of this is due to medications with side effects that include dry mouth. This can cause bacteria and food particles to not be properly flushed out of the mouth. If you are experiencing a dry mouth, drink plenty of water, apply lip moisturizer frequently, and avoid salty foods.
Stomatitis Induced by Dentures
If one uses ill-fitting dentures, a buildup of the fungus Candida albicans can cause inflamed tissue underneath the denture. Consult a dentist if you are experiencing this problem.
If gums recede and the bottom of your teeth is exposed to bacteria and acids, the root of the tooth can eventually become harmed and begin to decay. Often the solution is to crown that part of the tooth to help protect it from further damage.
Best Solutions to These Dental Issues for Seniors
Most importantly, to avoid all of these issues and more, the best solution is to practice good oral hygiene. For a senior that means:
Brushing at Least Twice a Day
Seniors should brush in the morning and night along with trying to brush after meals. If you cannot brush after a certain meal, make sure to drink lots of water to help flush out any acids, bacteria, and food particles left in your mouth.
Flossing Once a Day
The best defense against gum disease is proper flossing once a day. Flossing does not need to be done more than that as it can begin to harm the gums. Once a day is best for helping clear out the pockets within the gums of food and bacteria.
Use a mouthwash if you find your teeth sensitive or flossing very difficult. Non-alcoholic will keep the mouth from drying out as well.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
While it’s important to visit your dentist every six months, if you are having issues or concerns, it may be best to visit them more often. Prevention is the best way to have healthy teeth for a lifetime.