Senior Dental Care: How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy
As you get older, there are many things that you need to focus on, like the health of your joints, heart and maintaining a healthy weight. While you're doing all you can to protect your body as you age, it's important to remember that the way you care for your teeth should change when you enter your golden years.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), elderly individuals have unique dental care needs and challenges.
"If you want to feel good, stay healthy, and look great throughout life, you might be surprised what a difference a healthy mouth makes. By adopting healthy oral habits at home, making smart choices about diet and lifestyle, and seeking regular dental care, you can help your teeth last a lifetime," states the ADA.
The organization has created the Oral Longevity initiative to increase awareness about the oral health of Americans.
Here, WebMD offers a list of some common dental problems you may encounter as you age, and how to combat them:
- Dry Mouth: Older individuals have an increased risk of experiencing reduced saliva flow. This can be due to certain medications, or health conditions that commonly affect elderly individuals, such as Alzheimer's disease. If you experience dry mouth, talk to your doctor about any medications you are on, and try to keep the mouth hydrated, which may be done with the help of lozenges and drinking water.
- Gum Disease: It can be harder to brush as you get older, since it requires a certain level of dexterity. This can result in you missing spots on your teeth, allowing food to get left behind and cause bacteria to grow, which can lead to gum disease. To combat this, take some extra time while brushing your teeth, and visit the dentist often so he or she can give you a thorough cleaning. You could also invest in an electric toothbrush.
- Denture Stomatitis: This is a truly unpleasant condition that can be caused by ill-fitting dentures and poor dental hygiene. These two issues combined can lead to this severe form of gum disease; so, if you have dentures, make sure that they fit well and that that you clean your natural teeth often.
And, if you find that as you get older, it's becoming harder to care for your teeth, then don't be afraid to ask for help. Talk to your dentist about devices and tips designed to help elderly adults care for their teeth.
What do you to protect your teeth as you age? Share with us in the comments below!