Aging is a natural phenomenon and so are the health issues that come along with it! With age your oral health is crucial, and neglecting it can introduce a whole set of other health-related problems. A good oral hygiene routine helps you avoid issues that are detrimental to your general health. This article lists some common dental care tips for seniors and elderly individuals. Keep yourself informed and your loved ones safe.
Before discussing dental care tips for seniors, let us look at some of the common issues. If you or someone you know faces these issues, it is recommended to get professional help.
Common Oral and Dental Health Problems in Old Age
1. Tooth Darkening – This is typically caused by changes in your dentin, which is the bone-like tissue that lies below your enamel. Teeth darkening is also caused by consumption of foods and beverages that cause stains. The inner layer of dentin which has a darker yellow shade also becomes more visible due to the thinning of the outer layer of the enamel. This symptom can signify a more serious health issue which might need a trip to your dentist.
2. Dry Mouth – A decrease in the flow of saliva leads to dry mouth. There can be many reasons behind reduced saliva flow, including certain diseases, cancer treatments or side effects of medicines which lead to a lower amount of saliva, causing dryness in the mouth.
3. Gum Disease – This is a major dental health concern for elderly people. It is primarily caused due to plaque and is worsened by leftover food stuck in the teeth. Excess consumption of tobacco, poor eating habits, ill-fitting bridges and dentures can aggravate the condition. Certain diseases such as anemia, diabetes, and cancer are also contributing factors for this condition.
4. Tooth Loss – Though this is considered natural with aging, it can also be a threat due to other issues. Gum disease is one of the major reasons behind tooth loss.
5. Root Decay – When the root of your tooth is exposed to acid, tooth decay occurs. This exposure is caused when gum tissues recede. Since roots are not protected by enamel-like structure, they are more vulnerable to decay than the crown part.
6. Thrush – Your immune system can be negatively impacted by diseases, which can lead to the overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans in your mouth.
7. Uneven Jawbone – If you do not replace lost or missing teeth, the remaining teeth will start drifting and shifting into open, vacant spaces.
Oral Hygiene Tips for Seniors
Maintaining good oral hygiene is very important for everyone regardless of age. However, with old age comes a range of issues, for which extra caution is good. These oral and dental hygiene tips for seniors can save them from many problems.
1. Regular Brushing and Flossing – From eight to eighty, regular brushing and flossing does wonders for natural teeth. Brushing at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste helps maintain healthy teeth. Flossing at least once everyday is essential. Visit your dentist regularly for oral and dental check-ups. In addition, regular use of anti-septic mouthwash helps maintain good oral hygiene.
2. Gum Disease prevention – Besides tooth loss, it causes chronic and serious complications like heart diseases, diabetes, and stroke. Recent studies have also found links between Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and poor dental hygiene. Make regular visits to your dentist and cooperate with your dentist to minimize the effects of gum disease.
3. Take Care of Your Roots – When your roots are exposed due to tooth decay, gum recession, trauma etc., your teeth become sensitive to cold and hot temperatures. This can be quite painful and uncomfortable. It is vital to visit the dentist regularly and follow instructions to properly care for your roots.
4. Look Out for Darkened Teeth – Too much consumption of tea, coffee, cola, or red wine can severely discolour your teeth, which can make you self-conscious and cause stress on your mental health. Excessive smoking also causes the same problem. Your dentist can help with professional methods.
5. Keep a Tab on Sugar Intake – A high sugar intake can cause tooth decay and other oral health problems. Elder individuals must absolutely keep a strict eye on their sugar intake, which can lead to many health related issues in addition to dental problems.
6. Stay Hydrated – This is a simple but important dental care tip for elderly people. Regular water consumption through out the day, will result in better condition of the mouth. Check with your doctor and fix a daily quota of water intake.
7. Invest in Good Dentures – If you have dentures, take proper care of them. Regularly brush, rinse, and clean them so that no food material is stuck. Hand soap or gentle dish washing liquid should do the trick. Also, handle them with care and caution.
Dental care tips for elderly citizens is only a guideline. You need professional care from a good dental clinic that will do necessary examination to catch underlying issues. Dr. Beena George Dentistry is there to help seniors with their dental care in a safe and caring environment. We are professionals for anything related to dental and oral health. Visit us or call 905-542-9999 to know more.