Seniors, in particular, have a vested interest in keeping their teeth in good shape. Maintaining a mouth free of disease is important for more than just eating and talking properly. Unfortunately, many elderly people have special difﬁculties accessing dental treatment. In this blog, we’ll discuss the unique challenges faced by the elderly, and offer helpful oral health advice to ensure they can age with dignity.
Dental Health in the Elderly: Some Important Considerations
As people get older, they are more likely to experience dental issues such cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss. Lifetime wear and tear on teeth, variations in saliva production, and medical diseases that negatively impact oral health are just a few of the causes of this.
Xerostomia, or dry mouth, is a common problem among the elderly, either as a result of taking certain drugs or as a result of age-related decreases in saliva production. Due to the critical role that saliva plays in neutralizing acids and washing away food particles and bacteria, dry mouth can raise the risk of cavities and gum disease.
Plaque and tartar buildup, which worsens with age, greatly increases the risk of gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis) in the elderly. Gum disease, if left untreated, can cause tooth loss and has been related to systemic diseases including diabetes and heart disease.
Sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks is a common symptom of tooth wear and can be caused by erosion of the tooth’s protective enamel.
Care for Dentures: Many Seniors Replace Missing Teeth with Dentures. Dentures need to be cared for properly in order to keep gum inﬂammation and mouth infections at bay.
What advice does Chapel Dental Care have for senior citizens’ oral health?
Seniors should keep up with their regular dental checkups to help catch any potential problems early. Dentists are trained to examine and clean teeth and provide individualized guidance on how to best care for one’s mouth.
Seniors should use ﬂuoride toothpaste and an electric toothbrush to brush their teeth at least twice daily. Interdental cleaning with interdental brushes or ﬂossing is recommended to eliminate food particles and plaque from in between teeth.
In order to prevent dry mouth, senior citizens should drink lots of water throughout the day. Saliva production can also be prompted by chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies. They should consult a doctor if dry mouth is a chronic problem.
Eat a Well-Rounded Diet: Your dental health will beneﬁt from a diet that is just as healthy as the rest of your body. Reduce your risk of cavities by cutting back on sugary and acidic foods and drinks.
If you want to reduce your chance of oral cancer and other dental issues, you should stop smoking and drink less alcohol. Help is available for seniors who want to reduce their alcohol use or give up smoking.
Seniors who wear dentures should take them out at night to rest their gums, clean them thoroughly every day, and make sure they ﬁt properly. Dentures that don’t ﬁt properly can be extremely irritating and could lead to blisters and infections.
Seniors who have dental sensitivity might try avoiding extremely hot or cold foods and consider using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. If the sensitivity does not go away, a trip to the dentist is in order to rule out more serious causes.
Some medications, such as those for depression or anxiety, might affect oral health or cause dry mouth, so it’s important for seniors to keep their dentists informed about everything they’re taking.
Wrapping it Up
The importance of maintaining good dental hygiene grows with age. In order to keep their teeth and gums in good shape, seniors should be aware of the unique challenges they confront and take preventative measures. Seniors can improve their general health and quality of life by maintaining great oral hygiene, going for routine dental checkups, and being prepared for any dental issues that may arise. Never forget that a charming grin has lasting power.