As you age, it is important to pay more attention to dental health and keep your teeth in good condition. Seniors become increasingly prone to cavities due to a variety of illnesses and dry mouth. Thankfully, there are a variety of ways to take care of your teeth as you age and prevent unwanted problems from occurring.
Here are ten great dental care tips for seniors to keep your teeth in tip-top shape.
1. Have a healthy balanced diet.
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Nutrition is necessary for your gums and teeth. It will keep them strong and aid in preventing cavities. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to benefit from the many minerals and vitamins contained within them.
2. Stay away from tobacco.
Smoking and chewing tobacco is very damaging and is known to increase the risk of throat and mouth cancer. Tobacco will decay your teeth and could even cause other serious health conditions such as heart disease.
3. Make a trip to the Dentist.
People who fail to see a dentist are more likely to be diagnosed with gum disease and cavities. Dentist professionals are trained to specialize in dental care and can catch problems before they progress. They can assist with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of problems and diseases in the mouth.
4. Remember to brush, floss, and use fluoridation.
It is highly important to keep your teeth clean through brushing and flossing each and every day. This is one of the best habits for oral health. Keep in mind that flossing could cause harm to your gums if not done correctly. Individuals should floss and brush as gently as possible to avoid damaging the gums. Choose a toothpaste with fluoride because it is known to strengthen your teeth and prevent dental cavities. However, rinsing with water afterward risks washing away the fluoride.
5. Use mouthwash.
After you brush and floss, use an antibacterial or antiseptic mouthwash to diminish plaque buildup. This will help rid the mouth of unwanted bacteria and germs that are harmful for oral health.
6. Care for your dentures or implants.
Dentures are similar to natural teeth because plaque and tartar could still build up. Without the proper denture care, you could be at a greater risk for gum disease. Remove dentures from the mouth and soak in a cleaner to weaken the plaque and tartar. Then, brush the dentures and use a soft toothbrush to clean your gums. Implants still must be taken care of similarly to natural teeth. Be extra gentle around the implant when brushing and flossing.
7. Be aware of medications and dry mouth.
Many seniors take medications on a daily basis. Medications such as the ones to control cholesterol and high blood pressure could cause dry mouth and reduce the production of saliva. Saliva is highly important to keep enamel from fading and to rid the mouth of bacteria. A dry mouth could lead to bigger issues such as tooth decay and cavities. Drink plenty of fresh water to keep your mouth moist. Mouthwash and oral sprays can also be used to aid in the reduction of dry mouth.
8. Address sensitive teeth.
Sensitivity in the mouth can be caused by a number of different things. Over-brushing and chewing after many years can lead to sensitivity. Your dentist can help by recommending a toothpaste for sensitive teeth or veneers to protect the enamel of the teeth. Brush gently two times a day with a soft toothbrush. If you brush too hard, it may ruin the tooth enamel.
9. Prevent gum disease.
The main cause of gum disease is plaque build-up. Other factors include a family history of dental disease, bad dental hygiene habits (like not brushing or flossing), medications, and illnesses. If not treated right away, gum disease can lead to periodontitis. In this stage, pockets form between the teeth that collect debris. Over time the pockets get deeper and eventually lead to tooth loss. Regular dental visits can treat or prevent gum disease and periodontitis.
10. Recognize oral cancer.
This cancer can be identified by an abnormal growth or sore that won’t disappear in the area in and around the mouth. Some of the most common symptoms include white or red patches, unexplained bleeding, and loss of feeling in the mouth. If you see any of these symptoms, you should go see a dentist as soon as possible.
Remember that Medicare does not cover dental care. Some dentists offer little to no interest plans for seniors, so keep your options open when looking for a dentist or dental care.
You only get one set of teeth to live with, which is why it is so important to care for your teeth on a regular basis. Follow the tips above to keep your mouth and teeth healthy. Always speak to a dentist for solutions and recommendations if you have any concerns with your teeth and gums.