Senior Dental Health – Part I: Aging Well with Preventative Dental Care
Have you ever heard of the saying “floss only the teeth you want to keep”?
And the idea behind it is accurate. If we want to keep our teeth, we need to take care of them.
Some people are under the impression, though, that preventative steps don’t work as much as we get older. Getting gum disease, needing dental crowns, and losing teeth are things that come with the territory.
But that doesn’t have to be your reality. Whether you have all 32 teeth or a few less than that, you can take steps now to keep all of your teeth in good working order – no matter what age you are.
To that end, we are creating a two-part blog series on senior dental health.
Here, in part one, we’ll discuss what preventative care steps you can take right now to improve or maintain your dental health.
Keeping Your Teeth as You Age – Is It Really Possible?
It’s exciting to see reports that show that the number of seniors who lose their teeth has gone down significantly since the 1970s.
That’s great news! It means that there are steps you can take to keep your teeth healthy no matter what your age.
But what if you no longer have the dexterity to practice good dental home care because of a stroke or arthritis? What options do you have?
Training is now available for in-home care aides, nurses, and even family members to help seniors with their daily dental home care practices.
Other senior services are also available. For instance, University of the Pacific in California is sending dental hygienists to seniors’ homes to help out with senior oral health needs.
Senior Dental Health – How You Can Keep Your Teeth in Good Condition
When it comes to senior dental health, what can seniors do to keep their teeth healthy?
The first thing to do is to develop a good at-home senior oral health care routine. Here are some steps to take.
1. Brush Your Teeth at Least Twice a Day
One of the most important things you can do to promote good senior dental health is to brush your teeth. We should all brush at least twice a day for approximately two minutes each time.
It would be even better if you can brush after every meal since food breaks down and turns into acid that can cause decay.
2. Floss Your Teeth Every Evening
Flossing once a day is imperative to good senior oral health. Floss removes plaque and food from in between the teeth and under the gum tissue. These are areas that a toothbrush can’t reach.
3. Perform a Periodic Oral Cancer Self-Examination
You’ll want to look at the top, underside, and sides of your tongue, as well as your cheeks, throat, and the roof and floor of your mouth. Look for unusual skin patches or sores that won’t go away. If you notice something unusual, contact your dentist immediately.
4. Talk to Your Dentist About How to Treat Dry Mouth
If you take any medications, you might notice that your mouth is drier than usual. Dry mouth can lead to decay. Thankfully, we can recommend various products that can keep your mouth healthfully lubricated.
5. Make Sure Your Diet Supports Dental Health
Diet can play a huge role in your dental health. If you consume a lot of sugary foods and beverages, you’re at higher risk of decay.
You can reduce your risk of decay and tooth loss by eating foods low in sugar and high in tooth-strengthening vitamins and minerals. Some tooth-healthy foods include:
- Leafy greens
Team Up with Your Dentist to Protect Your Teeth for Years to Come
One of the most important things you can do for your oral health is to visit your dentist regularly. Yes, we mean us!
Don’t wait to see me until you have a broken tooth or a toothache. This just makes things harder on you and more expensive in the long run. But if you team up with me, we can nip problems in the bud.
Prevention actions – like annual examinations and regular dental cleanings – can reduce your risk of decay, gum disease, and pain.
Together, we can keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy for years to come!
Would you like some extra tips on how to care for your teeth? If so, contact our team to schedule an oral health examination. We’ll show you what you can do to keep your teeth looking and feeling great now and into the future!