Taking good care of your teeth is important from the moment your teeth come in as a child through your adult years, but it is especially important for seniors. Did you know that 17% of seniors over the age of 65 have periodontal disease?
Older people are also at an increased risk for dry mouth, root decay, darkening teeth, gum disease, tooth loss, and thrush. Dental care for seniors is necessary to help extend the life of their teeth and keep their overall health good.
Keep reading for 5 tips to keep your smile bright as you age!
1. Brush and Floss Regularly
The need to brush and floss regularly doesn’t change when you get older. Dentists recommend that you brush at least twice a day for two minutes at a time, and floss at least once a day.
You should also make sure you’re not using too much pressure, as brushing too hard can lead to sensitivity and cause inflammation of the tooth enamel and your gum tissue.
Check your toothbrush too, and think about the last time you replaced it. Replace it every three to four months, sooner if the bristles are frayed. Your dentist can also give you a recommendation on what bristle type and stiffness you should be using, so you aren’t aggravating your teeth or gums.
2. Avoid Tobacco
Tobacco use in any form increases your risk of cancer, periodontal disease, and reduces your overall health. The longer you smoke, the more at risk you are. The good news is that it’s never too late to quit. Don’t assume that since you’ve used for decades that quitting won’t have any benefits.
Quitting at any time will help improve your oral health and reduce your risk of disease related to your tobacco use.
3. Keep Your General Health Good
Certain medical conditions and chronic illnesses, like diabetes, can impact your oral health as well. Ensuring that you are eating healthy, seeing your doctor regularly, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle benefits your overall health as well as your oral health specifically.
Poor oral health is also related to diseases such as heart disease, so maintaining health is essential.
4. Avoid Dry Mouth
Many medications and health problems may contribute to dry mouth. Snoring, breathing through your mouth while you sleep, and tobacco use can also contribute to dry mouth.
Dry mouth is not only uncomfortable, but it also increases your chances of mouth infections, as the saliva needed to wash away bacteria is diminished.
5. Take Proper Care of Your Dentures
Not taking proper care of your dentures could cause denture-induced stomatitis. When your dentures don’t fit properly, you don’t clean them properly, or there is a build-up of fungus in your mouth, stomatitis, which is an inflamed and sore mouth, can occur. This is painful and also impacts your ability to eat, talk, and sleep.
If despite all of your hard work to maintain your oral health you still find yourself with teeth that need to be removed or other dental issues, there are many benefits of dental implants to improve your smile and your oral health.
Dental Care for Seniors: It’s Never Too Late to Improve Oral Health
It’s impossible to minimize the importance of dental care for seniors. Even if you haven’t been practicing good oral health, it’s never too late to start. Use these tips to change your habits today.
If this information is useful, check out some of our other health articles.