Getting older and gaining wisdom may go hand in hand, but age doesn’t matter when it comes to dental care. If there are seniors in your family, encourage them to stay ahead of the curve on their dentist visits.
Elderly people often need more than the customary two dentist visits each year to prevent oral health problems from developing. Once bacteria in the mouth causes inflammation, it may exacerbate other medical conditions. For instance, seniors are more than likely taking medications for multiple ailments, which may cause them to experience dry mouth. This symptom is often caused by medicine inhibiting their natural production of saliva. This could make a senior more susceptible to bacteria growth because there’s no saliva to wash it away.
Encourage the seniors in your life to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. It can help reduce the discomfort of dry mouth and wash away some impurities and food particles that may allow bacteria to fester.
Also, it’s important that seniors talk to their dentists about all the medications they’re taking and their blood pressure, which could go up during some dental work. Many dentists automatically take an adult’s blood pressure before administering anesthetics, but if they don’t, a senior citizen should ask to have it checked before any dental procedures.
One fallacy about senior citizens and teeth is that losing them is a natural part of aging. In fact, many elderly people keep all or most of their teeth when they maintain good dental habits and visit the dentist regularly. However, this can be difficult for older people on a fixed income. If they have no dental insurancebecause they’ve retired from a job that offered coverage, or they can’t keep up with pricey insurance premiums, there’s an alternative. They can purchase a dental savings plan that provides many dentistry services at reduced costs.Teeth go through an aging process just as other parts of the body do, and sometimesseniors’ medical issues interfere with maintaining good dental health. For instance, some people may neglect dental care because they have arthritis, which may make it difficult for them to hold a toothbrush. If you have a senior in your family with dexterity problems, you can make their tooth brush easier to hold by wrapping a sponge around it.
If seniors are self-conscious about yellowed teeth, educate them about the many whitening agents that are available over the counter at pharmacies or those recommended by their dentist. You can help by going through the procedures with them so they don’t overuse the whiteners and damage the healthy enamel on their teeth.In addition to limiting beverages that can stain teeth – such as coffee, tea and red wine – seniors should maintain lifestyle habits that will make them feel better. Eating a balanced diet, regular exercise, no smoking and a good night’s sleep all help keep gums and teeth healthy.
For older people who have dentures, good dental hygiene and visiting the dentist becomes more important than ever. The daily removal of the apparatus demands optimum care so hurtful bacteria doesn’t form on gums and lead to plaque build-up on the teeth.
In addition to daily denture cleanings, seniors should use a soft-bristle toothbrush to brush their gums, any remaining teeth, the tongue and crevices in the mouth palate to fully clear out bacteria. After meals, dentures can be rinsed with water to remove any food particles that cling to the apparatus.