As we grow older, it’s crucial to pay attention not only to our physical and mental health but also to our dental health. Your oral health is closely related to the health of your entire body. Good dental health protects against gum disease, tooth loss, and many other age-related diseases. A healthy mouth can lead to a healthier body.
Consequences of Poor Oral Health in Seniors
Poor oral health can have severe consequences, particularly for seniors. Gum inflammation or gingivitis can raise the risk for lung disease, heart disease, blood vessel blockage, and strokes. Tooth loss from periodontitis may raise your risk of dementia. Insecurities about your smile can affect your social life, making you feel less attractive and less likely to socialize, which can increase isolation.
Common Dental Problems in Seniors
Sensitive teeth and dry mouth are two common dental problems many older adults face. Tooth sensitivity is a sharp ache when you eat hot or cold food. As you age, your gums may be inclined to shrink, exposing more of the tooth’s root and making it sensitive.
Dry mouth is a condition in which you produce less saliva, making tasting, chewing, swallowing, and even talking difficult. If you face any of these issues, essential to consult with your dentist to find the source of your problem.
Prevention is Key
When it comes to oral health, prevention is the best way to keep your mouth healthy. Regular check-ups every six months, daily dental hygiene routines, and proper dental care can help maintain your oral health and keep your smile vibrant.
Essential Dental Care Tips for Seniors
Rinse with plain water before brushing to dislodge food particles. After brushing, rinse again with an alcohol-free fluoride mouthwash, which can help protect against tooth decay. If you have trouble controlling plaque, gingivitis, bad breath, or dry mouth, speak with your dentist about a therapeutic mouthwash1.
Brush at least twice a day for two minutes per session. Choose a toothpaste with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. That seal means the toothpaste is decay and plaque-fighting fluoride. Select a brush with soft or extra-soft bristles and replace toothbrushes every three to four months, or more often if the strands are visibly matted or frayed.
When brushing, tilt the brush at a 45° angle and take several up-and-down short strokes from the gum line to the top of the tooth. If you have arthritis or difficulty reaching the back teeth, consider using grip aids or an electric toothbrush.
Floss at least once daily. The more often, the better! Floss after a meal to reduce bacteria buildup in the mouth. You can use either waxed or unwaxed floss. If traditional flossing is difficult, you can try over-the-counter tools, such as dental picks, floss picks, pre-threaded flossers, tiny brushes that reach between the teeth, and water flossers.
Regular Dental Appointments
One of the most effective ways to maintain good oral health in your golden years is to keep regular dental appointments. Regular check-ups with your dentist play a key role in the prevention and early detection of potential dental problems. These visits are not just for cleaning your teeth, but also for a comprehensive examination of your mouth.
Seeing your dentist every six months is generally recommended. However, depending on your specific dental health needs, your dentist may suggest more frequent visits. These regular check-ups allow your dentist to detect any issues early—when they’re most treatable—and provide you with the necessary treatment to keep your mouth healthy.
Schedule Your Dental Visit Today!
Regular dental visits can help catch problems before they get too serious. At Vibrant Dental, we understand the unique oral health challenges that come with age and are committed to helping you navigate them. Schedule your dental visit today for a healthier and happier smile!