As you age, it’s essential that you take good care of your teeth. And according to most senior dental care specialists, this is particularly true for the elderly. The proper oral care will help you to prevent tooth decay, toothaches, and tooth loss. Not only that, but you’ll actually be able to enjoy your food. Below are a few tips that can help you along the way.
1. Choose Your Toothbrush Wisely Many seniors make the mistake of purchasing the same style and brand of toothbrush simply because they’ve done so for years. While you may have come to rely on a specific brush, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best option for you. When deciding on what type you should use, consider the bristles.
Are they too stiff? Will they put too much pressure on your gums? Do your gums occasionally bleed after you’ve brushed? If so, you may need to switch to one that features a softer bristle as it will be less likely to erode the enamel of your teeth.
If you use a manual toothbrush, you may also consider switching to one that’s electric. Electric toothbrushes can provide as much as 66,000 strokes each minute. And this can help with deep cleaning. You won’t have to put in as much effort as you do with a manual brush.
2. Remain Hydrated Seniors typically make more trips to the restroom. This can be due to medical conditions such as diabetes or hypertension. As a result, there are some who prefer to drink as little as possible so as to avoid unnecessary trips. While using the bathroom several times throughout the day may be inconvenient, elderly dental care specialists typically recommend that you drink more water.
Not only is staying hydrated great for your overall health, but it can also help you to avoid dry mouth. Dry mouth is a common side effect of certain medications. The issue with dry mouth is that it robs you of your saliva, and saliva washes away food particles that can cause damage if left too long in between teeth. Drinking more water will help with the production of saliva and fighting decay and bacteria.
3. Floss The ADA recommends that everyone floss twice per day daily. However, this guideline is particularly important for seniors because plaque builds and hardens more quickly for those ages 50 and older. So make sure that you get in the habit of brushing and flossing after each meal.
While standard dental floss is great for tight spaces, you may also use a water pick or pulsating irrigator. This will help to further remove the food particles. Seniors who have a difficult time holding the dental floss should consider purchasing a floss holder or disposable pick.
4. Keep Your Dentures Clean Technology has advanced to the point where many seniors are opting for implants and fixed dentures. However, removable dentures are still available. If your dentures are removable, it’s crucial that you clean them daily. Bacteria can easily build up and if it comes into contact with your gums it could result in gum disease.
5. Avoid Tobacco Another important tip for geriatric dental care is to avoid tobacco. Individuals who smoke tend to be at a higher risk of developing gum disease than nonsmokers. To complicate matters, tobacco can weaken your immune system. Ultimately, this means that it will be hard for you to fight against gum infections.
In addition, the longer you smoke, the more likely you are to get periodontal disease. In this case, treatments may or may not be effective. Even cosmetic dentistry procedures could be compromised. So it’s best to get rid of all pipes and cigarettes if you want to preserve the health of your teeth and bones.
6. Cut Back On Soft Drinks While most people understand the dangers of tobacco, not many seniors realize how much their drinking habits can impact their oral health. Specifically, soft drinks can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums. Most geriatric dental care specialists say that the acid in these beverages can erode the teeth. And if you drink enough, you may completely wear away the enamel. These beverages, as well as citrus fruits, should be limited.
7. Monitor Changes As you age, the risk of oral cancer tends to increase significantly. It’s best to make sure that you’re monitoring your mouth for any sudden changes. In fact, there is a list of symptoms that you should be on the lookout for.
For example, make sure that your mouth doesn’t feel sore. Pay attention to areas that seem thick or have lumps. Look out for red or white patches. Make sure that you’re not having difficulties swallowing, moving your tongue, or chewing. You shouldn’t have any swelling in the jaw or numbness of the tongue.
If you notice any of these symptoms, get in touch with a family dentist who specializes in elderly dental care. They’ll be able to examine you and let you know if it’s something you should be concerned about.
8. Visit a Dental Care Specialist No matter how well you take care of your teeth, you still need to set up regular appointments to see a dentist in Scottsdale. As previously discussed, elderly patients are often at risk for certain conditions. The earlier these conditions can be detected, the better. Ideally, you should see your Scottsdale dentist every six months.
Conclusion If you have more questions about your oral health, you should get in touch with a qualified Scottsdale Dentist. Luckily, if you’re interested in a low-cost dentist, there are many options to choose from. A professional can make suggestions for preventing dental problems and how you can address those that you’re currently struggling with.