Oral Care Tips for Older Adults

By taking good care of your teeth and gums, you can protect them for years as they are meant to last a lifetime. The availability of better oral care tools, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, and interdental cleaners (brushes to clean betwe

Updated: November 9, 2017

By taking good care of your teeth and gums, you can protect them for years as they are  meant to last a lifetime. The availability of better oral care tools, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, and interdental cleaners (brushes to clean between the teeth) makes it easier for older adults to keep their natural teeth for a much longer period of time.
keeping your teeth in good condition as you age might require some special attention. As you get older, certain oral conditions might develop that were not present when you were younger.
These conditions include:

Attrition:

Many years of chewing and grinding can take away the enamel resulting increasing the risk for cavities .

Dry mouth:

Dry mouth can result from physical changes within the body as it ages, but can also be caused by medications.
When salivary glands don’t work properly, you have dry mouth. This increases the risk for oral disease, as saliva helps kill bacteria and rebuild enamel. This can make hard to eat, swallow, taste, and even speak. Dry mouth can also cause tooth decay and infection which can lead to and tooth loss.. Dry mouth can happen as a result of many diseases or medical treatments, such as head and neck radiation therapy. Many common medicines also can cause dry mouth. If this is the case, you might have to change your medicine or dosage.
To prevent the dryness, drink extra water and cut down sugary snacks, drinks that have caffeine or alcohol, and tobacco.

Gum Diseases:

This is a serious condition which occurs when the gum tissues surrounding teeth become infected because of a buildup of plaque on the teeth and gums. These are infections that harm the gum and bone that hold teeth in place. If not treated, this infection can damage the bones, gums and tissue that support your teeth. This will result you to loose teeth that your dentist may have to remove.
With the proper treatment, including regular visit to your dentist gum disease is reversible.

Root decay:

Cavities can damage the enamel that covers and protects your teeth. When you don’t take good care of your mouth, bacteria can cling to your teeth and develop a sticky, colorless film called dental plaque. This plaque can lead to tooth decay and cavities. The roots of your teeth may become exposed as your gums gradually diminish due to gum disease, leading to an increased rate of decay as you age.
The dental hygienist will scale the teeth at and below the gum line and the root surfaces to remove plaque and tartar from these areas and make them smooth and clean.

Maintaining a Healthy Mouth as You Age:

There are several things you can do to maintain your oral health as you age:

Avoid tobacco:

Tobacco in any form has an increased risk of mouth and throat cancer along with heart disease and other serious health conditions. Chewing tobacco can even lead to more decay, as many tobacco formulations contain sugar.

Increase oral hydration:

Keep your body hydrated by

  • drinking plenty of water
  • chewing a sugarfree gum
  • avoiding alcohol

Increase fluoridation:

Switch to a fluoride toothpaste or use a fluoride rinse in your daily routine. This can reduce the risk of cavities.

Use an antibacterial mouthwash:

An antibacterial mouthwash when used with with brushing and flossing can reduce the buildup of plaque.
Few common practices can help keep your teeth in good condition as you age.  It is also advisable to visit a dental care professional regularly, as he can provide even more oral care tips.


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