Dental Care And The Elderly

As you age, your mouth becomes more susceptible to oral health problems. Dry mouth, tooth decay, gum disease, and even oral cancer are more likely to occur when you get older. Here are a few measures you can take to prevent dental health problems from developing.

Oral Hygiene

Keeping good oral hygiene practices is important across your lifetime, but especially as you get older. Protect yourself by brushing twice a day and flossing daily. If you have a condition that limits your movement such as arthritis, you may want to consider using an electric toothbrush and a flossing tool (like an interdental pick or brush).

Visit The Dentist

Regular check-ups with your dentist become even more important as you age because the nerves in your teeth begin to shrink, making them less sensitive. This means that you may not realize you have developed a dental health problem because you cannot feel it. However, a dentist will check for these issues at a check-up.

Denture Care

Whether you have partial or full dentures, it is important to clean the bacteria from them. Clean your dentures with a denture cleanser at least once a day. Also be sure you do not sleep with dentures in, soak them in cool water or a soaking solution instead.

Fluoridated Water

Fluoride strengthens your teeth no matter what age you may be. Make sure you drink plenty of tap water since most community water systems have added fluoride to them. If you prefer drinking bottled water, ask your dentist about fluoride supplements.

Good Diet

When you eat healthy foods, you are reducing the amount of sugar in your mouth which plaque bacteria use to decay teeth. Be sure that you are getting enough calcium and phosphorus in your diet to strengthen tooth enamel. However, do not get your calcium exclusively from supplements because doing so can increase your risk for heart attack.

Substance Abuse

The average age for those who develop mouth, throat, or tongue cancer is 62. Tobacco and alcohol use (especially together) increase your risk for developing these cancers. Quit today and you will not only be protecting the health of your mouth but the rest of your body as well.