Taking care of your teeth and gums is important, even as you age. If you practise good oral hygiene and get regular dental care, your teeth and gums may look good and stay healthy for life. However, as you age, certain changes in your mouth and body can impact your oral health. Seniors also are more at risk for certain oral health problems. Read on to learn more about dental care for seniors and how your needs may change as you get older.
Why is dental care for seniors important?
Regardless if you have your natural teeth, implants, crowns, bridges, or if you have a partial or full denture, you should continue to visit your dentist regularly. In fact, you are never too old to stop seeing your dentist! As you age, your dentist will be able to check for age-related issues and adjust the exam accordingly.
Similarly, if you have a crown or bridge, dentures or implants, regular check-ups are key. This is the opportunity to ensure they are in good shape, check for broken parts, and make any adjustments. Additionally, your dentist will check surrounding tissues and the areas the dentures touch to see if there are any irritations or other problems. Proper dental care for seniors starts with daily brushing, flossing and regular dental exams.
Some of most common oral health problems in seniors
As we age, our bodies change and we become more at risk for certain diseases. Your mouth is unfortunately no different. The most common oral health problems in seniors include:
· Darkened teeth : this is often caused by changes in dentine and a lifetime of consuming stain-causing foods and drinks. However, a darkened tooth can be a sign of a more serious problem and should be checked by your dentist.
· Dry mouth : this is typically caused by reduced saliva production and certain medications.
· Loss of teeth : there are a variety of reasons people may lose their teeth from poor oral hygiene to disease.
· Cavities : as it may become harder to brush and floss, maybe because of arthritis in the fingers and hands, many seniors are more prone to cavities.
· Root decay : as gums recede, they expose the root of the tooth. And as they are not protected by enamel, they are prone to decay.
· Periodontitis : also known as gum disease: this is a severe gum infection that can lead to tooth loss and other issues.
Preventative dental care for seniors
People of all ages should continue to brush and floss every day. In fact, aside from regular dental exams, brushing and flossing are the most important things you can do for your oral health. Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft bristle toothbrush and the right technique. Moreover, you should also floss once a day to remove food and plaque between teeth. Once again, make sure to use the right technique so you do not damage gums. If you have implants or dentures, it is just as important to clean and take care of them.
Taking care of your dentures and implants
It is just as important to care for “false” teeth as it is to take care of natural ones. If you wear partial or full dentures, make sure to clean them every day. Plaque and tartar can build up here as well! Thus, you should brush teeth and gums twice a day with a soft toothbrush. You should also soak dentures overnight. You can do this in a special cleaner for false teeth.
On the other hand, caring for implants is more like caring for natural teeth. However, implants are more fragile so you should be extra careful when you brush and floss. For more tips on dental care for seniors, visit the Canadian Dental Association’s website.
As you get older, it is important to keep taking care of your oral health. Furthermore, regular dental care for seniors, including dental exams, can help diagnose diseases early and treat them accordingly. Make an appointment today with one our dentist for a regular exam or for any other issues.