It is a common misconception that getting older means you have to lose all of your teeth. While it is true that your teeth are not as resilient to stresses as you age, it is possible to maintain your dental health by practicing good oral hygiene. Cavities are not just for children, and seniors should pay attention to how they take care of their teeth as well. In addition to visiting your dentist regularly, here are 5 dental tips for seniors that you should consider.
Use an electric toothbrush
As you age, your hands and motor skills may become less nimble, so it might be harder for you to use a regular toothbrush properly. Using an electric toothbrush with help you reach all the tough areas and be more efficient in cleaning your teeth.
Drink tap water
Tap water contains fluoride, which naturally protects teeth. This applies not only to seniors, but people of all ages. If you have a habit of drinking bottled water, try to develop a new habit of drinking one glass of tap water a day. If you don’t like the taste, you can consider adding some flavoring or tea. Fluoride-containing toothpaste is another good source of fluoride for optimal dental care.
It is never too late to quit smoking. Not only do cigarettes damage teeth and cause gum disease and tooth decay, the harmful chemicals also cause a state of chronic inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation or infection of the gums can lead to heart disease.
Avoid dry mouth
Saliva protects the mouth from overgrowth of unwanted bacteria and funguses. Seniors often take multiple medications and one of the most common side effects is dry mouth. Dry mouth can cause cavities, trouble speaking and swallowing, and bad breath. If you think you have symptoms of dry mouth, talk to your doctor or dentist about possible treatment options. Over the counter lozenges or certain mouthwashes can help protect against dry mouth.
Clean dentures daily
Dentures are not immune to the bacteria and plaque that tend to stick to teeth. It is important that you remember to clean your dentures every day. There are solutions that are made specifically for cleaning dentures, which you should always keep in stock. Toothpaste, soap, or other cleaners not specifically made for dentures can damage them. Partial or full dentures should not be worn for more than 20 hours at a time, otherwise the lining of your mouth may become irritated. Let your mouth rest for at least 4 hours a day and also take dentures off when you sleep at night.
As you can see, oral and dental health is a lifelong endeavor. As you age, you may need to see your dentist more often. Adding new dental hygiene habits to your daily routine can prevent you from losing all of your teeth. If you need help with any of the activities involved, such as brushing or flossing, don’t hesitate to ask for help.