It is well known that good oral hygiene is an integral part of being healthy, but sometimes, many seniors avoid or ignore dental care, and this can cause several problems.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 17% of people over 65 have periodontal disease (infections of the structures surrounding the teeth, which include the gums, periodontal ligament, and alveolar bone).
Oral care is essential at any age, but dental hygiene becomes even more critical as we age.
Age itself is not a dominant or sole factor in determining oral health. However, certain medical conditions, such as arthritis in the hands and fingers, can make brushing or floss difficult or impossible.
It is crucial to maintain proper dental hygiene as we age. Seniors aged 65 and older may experience several difficulties with an aging mouth when hygiene is neglected. These include but are not limited to dry mouth, tooth decay, decreased sense of taste, and tooth loss. Another more dangerous oral health-related disease is mouth cancer, which can result from years of smoking and drinking.
It is possible at an older age to develop certain oral conditions that were not present when you were young. These include darkening teeth, dry mouth, wear and tear, gum disease, root caries, sensitive teeth, and many more.
Approximately 27% of older people have no teeth. Practicing proper oral hygiene and habits remains as crucial for seniors as it is for children.
Taking good care of oral health becomes an essential concern for aging people. Keeping the mouth, gums, and teeth in optimal condition requires many common sense dental practices. Dental health is ultimately linked to your overall wellness and health, so it's essential to take extra care. It can be hard to know where to start if you're looking for tips on taking care of your dental health as a senior.
To maintain a healthier mouth, seniors can follow these five tips for good oral hygiene:
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. Proper brushing requires at least two minutes. Older people may experience increased sensitivity in their teeth and gums. Arthritis, a disease restricting hand movement, can also influence poor brushing. For these reasons, switching to an electric toothbrush is recommended to facilitate dental care.
Flossing well into old age ensures that all surfaces between the teeth are kept clean and healthy.
Smokers have twice the risk of gum disease as non-smokers. In addition to the adverse effects of tobacco use, smoking weakens the immune system and overall health, making it harder to fight off a gum infection.
Health problems, especially diabetes, can cause dental problems. Opt for homemade or freshly prepared foods with less sugar and salt to maintain good oral health. Foods, preferably fruits and vegetables, rich in fiber, are one of the most recommended for consumption. Sweets and fast food should be consumed less as you get older. Abandoning them would be ideal for older people.
As you know, older adults experience many changes in their bodies. One of those changes is dry mouth. Talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking that may contribute to dry mouth. Increasing your water intake protects your teeth from possible cavities. Water not only flushes out bacteria and sugar but also neutralizes your mouth's acid.
Know the recommended calcium: Calcium helps keep teeth healthy as you age. Dental professionals recommend that older adults take 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily from low-fat dairy products to minimize the risk of osteoporosis. This medical condition has a significant impact on the bone surrounding the teeth.
Despite these excellent dental tips for seniors, regular visits to the dentist are a must. Because of the current situation, check to see if there is an opportunity to book home services or schedule appointments to plan a safe trip.
There is a lot of conflicting advice about the best ways to care for teeth, but many of those methods are not always ideal for older people. That's why at Great Smiles Dental Care, we encourage seniors to visit the best dentist in Suprise, AZ - Dr. Wendelschafer for preventive checkups and to have all their questions answered.
As you age, you must pay more attention and care to maintain good dental health.