Dental Care Tips for Older Adults
Modern dentistry has made it possible to keep your teeth for a lifetime. Yet, you do face new oral health care challenges as you age.
- Older adults are more likely to develop gum disease.
- You may also have a health condition that affects your oral health such as diabetes or Parkinson’s disease.
- Tooth sensitivity is also more common as gums recede and tooth enamel gets thinner.
Good oral hygiene practices help to reduce the chances of developing serious dental problems.
Follow these tips, and you can look forward to hearing great news during your checkups.
Keep Your Mouth Hydrated
Dry mouth is more common among older adults. People who lack enough saliva to wash away acids and food debris are more likely to get cavities. Bring a list of your medications to your dental appointment. We can help you determine if any may be causing your dry mouth.
If so, we can offer special rinses to keep the soft tissues of your mouth moist and help to prevent plaque formation. Drinking plenty of water during the day also helps to compensate for low saliva production.
Find Your Preferred Flossing Style
Getting older comes with a few perks such as senior discounts. However, that doesn’t mean that you are exempt from flossing. If you have arthritis that makes using string floss uncomfortable, try a different type. Water flossers and pre-loaded string picks can make it easier to remove food that is stuck between your teeth.
Replace Missing Teeth
Sometimes, tooth loss is unavoidable. If a tooth must be removed due to damage or an infection, make sure to replace it. Tooth replacements, such as dentures and implants, help to keep the bones in your jaw strong. This reduces the risk of losing a future tooth.
Take Care of Your Teeth Replacements
People sometimes think that dentures don’t need the same level of care as regular teeth. However, this is far from the truth. Removable dentures need to be cleaned every day. This removes food that can get trapped between them and your gums where they can cause painful infections.
Dental implants must be brushed and flossed around. We can show you the right technique for flossing around the posts without damaging your gums. If your dentures or implants develop damage, then get them repaired to prevent further issues from developing.
Check for Signs of Oral Cancer
The risk of developing oral cancer goes up as you age. You are at a higher risk for oral cancer if you smoke or drink excessive amounts of alcohol. Watch for signs of oral cancer in your mouth as you floss. Any lumps, sores that don’t heal or areas of discoloration should be reported to us as soon as possible. We’ll also check for oral cancer during your exams.
We have many treatments that can help you maintain a beautiful smile as you age. However, you also have to put in the work at home. Talk to us about your challenges with oral hygiene. Our staff has ideas that can help you make caring for your teeth easier.