Dental Care Checklist for Seniors
Aging affects many parts of our bodies, including the mouth and teeth. Be proactive by taking steps to maintain your oral health.
- Quit smoking and chewing tobacco. Tobacco, regardless of how it is used, increases the chances of getting mouth and throat cancer. Many chewing tobaccos contain sugar, so they can also cause decay.
- Increase oral hydration. If you must be on a medication that causes dry mouth, take steps to ensure comfort and protect your teeth. Drink water, chew sugar-free gum with Xylitol and steer clear of alcohol.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash with fluoride. Pack an extra punch in your regular dental hygiene routine to help reduce plaque build-up.
- Use an electric toothbrush. Brushing is not only easier for people with mobility issues or arthritis, but it can be fun.
- Visit the team at Clayburn Dental for regular check-ups and cleanings.
Oral Hygiene Tips for Seniors
Natural teeth should be brushed at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Seniors should floss at least once a day to help prevent plaque build-up between the teeth and gums. Dental flossers that come pre-threaded are convenient and easier to use than regular floss. Oral hygiene is especially important for seniors because less enamel means decay can go from being minor to serious in a short period of time. Once teeth are clean, rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash that contains fluoride.
What to Watch Out for as You Age
- Thinning enamel allows dentin to show through. This makes teeth appear yellow or stained.
- Inflammation of gums due to dentures. Whether the dentures fit poorly or dental hygiene habits are lacking, denture-induced stomatitis is often the result.
- Dry mouth is often the result of taking certain medications. Anything that reduces saliva flow exacerbates dry mouth. Cancer treatment, radiation to the head or neck, and diseases like Sjögren’s syndrome are culprits.
- Root decay becomes more common as gum tissues recede. Enamel provides a layer of protection to the crown of the teeth, but the roots do not have enamel. This leaves the roots more prone to decay than the crown.
- Gum disease is generally caused by plaque build-up between the teeth and gums. Poor oral hygiene is usually the cause, but tobacco, poor diets, and certain diseases can make gum disease worse over time. Ill-fitting bridges and dentures can also result in gum disease.
- Tooth and bone loss are often the result of untreated gum disease.
- Misaligned teeth in a formerly aligned mouth can happen when a tooth is removed without adding a replacement. Even permanent teeth will shift into open spaces.
- Thrush is an overgrowth of Candida Albicans. When the immune system is impacted by certain drugs or diseases, this overgrowth can occur.
Clayburn Dental in Abbotsford Loves Taking Care of Seniors
Because of advances in dental research and product availability, people maintain their natural teeth longer than ever before. It is important to visit your Abbotsford dentist for check-ups and cleanings, even if you wear full dentures. Age can bring some unpleasant dental side effects, so be sure to keep regular dental appointments so you can tackle any age-related issues head-on. Keep in mind Clayburn Dental offers restorative dentistry, including dentures that are suitable for older adults and seniors. Give us a call at 604-852-8487 or request an appointment online to help keep your smile healthy.