Important Dental Health Tips For Seniors
Proper dental health is an important, life-long commitment and one that kids and adults of all ages need to pay close attention to each and every day. However, seniors have some very unique dental needs, and in order to maintain great oral health, they need to take a few extra steps to ensure they are staying their healthiest.
Seniors are actually at risk for a number of different dental problems ranging from weakening taste buds to gum decay. Seniors, together with their caregivers and loved ones, should make sure that they are taking these extra precautions to ensure they aren’t falling victim to serious oral health issues.
Don’t Forget The Basics
There are a few extra things that seniors should do in order to keep their teeth as healthy as possible. However, they shouldn’t forget about the basics. This means brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. Seniors need to brush with a toothpaste that has fluoride in it and rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash when they are done. This is the best way to make sure that all of the germs that can cause gum disease and tooth decay are actually gone.
For seniors who have limited mobility or who need a caregiver to do the cleaning for them, there are some helpful tools out there that can make brushing and flossing easier for those with limited motor skills. Electric toothbrushes and long-handled floss extenders can really go a long way in making daily oral care easy.
Understand Proper Denture Care
There are some seniors who keep a full set of teeth well into their senior years, while others will require a set of dentures. For those who do have dentures, it is important that they understand the differences in caring for and cleaning dentures as opposed to caring for a normal set of teeth.
Don’t Disregard the Dentist
Many seniors need to visit a number of different healthcare providers in order to get the overall quality health care that they need. However, it is important to not disregard the dentist in this lineup of important health providers. Dentists will not only provide seniors with their routine cleaning but they will help with loose teeth, problems chewing and swallow, issues with taste buds, sores and lumps in the mouth and they will check important areas such as the lymph nodes and salivary glands to ensure they are healthy and functioning properly. Seniors need to be visiting the dentist twice a year.
Poor diet and unhealthy habits such as smoking or chewing tobacco are some of the key reasons that seniors develop oral health issues. Smokers are much more likely to develop periodontal disease and oral cancer. Excessive drinkers may also be at risk for oral cancer as well. A poor diet can make an impact on a person’s oral health with salty and sugary foods easily eating away at the enamel outside the teeth. Seniors should remember that enamel does not grow back, so once they ruin it with poor habits such as bad diet and tobacco use, they can never get their enamel back again.
Every senior needs to remember these simple oral health tips to ensure they are looking after their mouths as much as they are looking after the rest of their bodies as they continue to age in the healthiest manner possible.
- Kimberly Langdon M.D. is a retired, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place for her senior research project and placed in the 98th percentile on the national exam for OB/GYN residents in the U.S..
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