You may expect to lose teeth as you age, but you don’t have to. With good oral hygiene and regular trips to the dentist, you can keep your teeth healthy and functioning normally. Dr. Matheny has helped adults older than age 60 understand how our oral care needs may shift as we age.
Dr. Matheny, helps patients of all ages realize good oral care will improve their lives. Our dental team brainstormed some tips for seniors and their caretakers to improve their oral health.
Oral Care Tips
Floss every day at least once. Guide the floss gently between each tooth and curve it along your tooth in a C-shape. Flossing removes plaque and food particles from between your teeth that can’t be reached with a toothbrush. Ask your dental about alternatives, such as interdental cleaners, if your fingers aren’t dexterous enough to handle dental floss. Flossing reduces your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. Brush in small, gentle circles. Remember to get a new toothbrush every few months or sooner if you’ve been sick.
Many of us experience dry mouths as we age. Saliva helps break down the bacteria in our mouths and aids in cavity prevention. Encourage your saliva to flow by drinking lots of water and chewing sugar free gum. Prescription drugs can also inhibit saliva flow. Talk with your doctor to see if your medications interfere with your oral health.
Visiting your dentist regularly is an important step for your oral health. Schedule appointments every six months for routine dental cleanings to keep your teeth and gums healthy. These appointments also allow your dentist to closely monitor any changes in your oral health and detect problems early.
Denture Care Tips
Dentures also require care. Rinse your dentures and then brush with a soft toothbrush to remove bacteria and debris. Brushing your dentures keeps them clean, white and free of bacteria. Remember to clean your mouth, too. Your gums, tongue, cheeks and roof of the mouth can harbor plaque and contribute to gum disease. Keep your dentures covered in water to keep them from changing shape. You may wear dentures with adhesives. Discuss this with your dentist to review tips for safe use.
Things to Watch For
Do you have any pain in your mouth? Do you have trouble eating or speaking, chewing or swallowing? Pay attention to your gums, lips, teeth and tongue for any changes or sensitivities. Notice if any teeth grow loose or sensitive and notify your dentist of these changes.
As we age, our mouths may be more susceptible to certain health issues, including a dulled sense of taste, gum disease, tooth discoloration, root decay and tooth loss. Tooth loss can affect the way your teeth fit together and cause difficulties chewing and speaking. Cosmetic dentistry procedures such as dental implants and crowns can replace missing teeth and restore your bite. Missing teeth can make your facial muscles sag and cause you to appear older. Replacing those teeth will restore your confidence, improve your appearance and boost your oral health.
Teeth are important to your quality of life. You use your teeth every day to speak, smile and chew. Healthy teeth allow you to eat crunchy, nutritious food to keep the rest of your body healthy.
Oral health has many links to total body health. Improving your oral health will reduce your risks of gum disease, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and oral cancer.
If you have any questions or concerns in regards to your oral health contact us for answers an solutions at 772-878-5000.