If youre a senior heading for a dental care checkup, odds are the visit is due to some dental health symptom you just cant ignore anymore. Considering that nearly half of Americans age 65 and older have lost at least six teeth to tooth decay or gum disease, your dentist is bound to ask some important questions to determine the state of your dental healtha sensitive topic (quite literally) for most seniors.
Some questions your dentist should ask include:
- The date and reason for your last dental visit.
- If you have noticed any tooth sensitivity or looseness.
- If you have noticed any difficulty tasting, chewing, or swallowing.
- If you have any pain, discomfort, sores, or bleeding in your mouth.
- If you have noticed any lumps, bumps, or swellings in your mouth.
According to WebMD, seniors are more prone to tooth decay and periodontal disease (gum disease) resulting from improper dental hygiene practices, poor diet, ill-fitting dental appliances or diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
Here are six dental care tips for seniors that WebMD recommends:
- Brush, floss and rinse with mouthwash properly to maintain proper dental hygiene.
- Look into special toothbrushes to clean hard-to-reach areas of the mouth.
- Know the warning signs that indicate your mouth, teeth or gums may be in jeopardy, including tooth sensitivity, teeth grinding, pain, mouth sores, bumps, swelling, loose teeth, jaw popping or clicking, difficulty quenching thirst, swallowing or chewing.
- Visit your dentist as often as he or she recommends for regular dental hygiene checkups.
- Maintain dental appliances such as dentures and dental bridges properly.
- If brushing and flossing are difficult for you, try using a soft washcloth or gauze to remove debris from the teeth, rinsing frequently. People suffering from arthritis or a similar medical condition that limits manual dexterity can try inserting the back end of a toothbrush into a standard tennis ball for better maneuverability.
How do you maintain good dental health? Share your senior dental care tips in the comments below.