No matter how old you are, everyone can enjoy good oral health. The better you take care of your teeth and gums, the better the chance they will remain healthy. However, as you age, you may need to make some changes in your oral care so that you keep your natural teeth for longer. Here are some tips for seniors dental care:
- Use more fluoridation: Teeth weaken over time. Using toothpaste or a mouth rinse that has extra fluoride can help minimise decay and keep them as strong as possible.
- Hydrate more: Dry mouth is more prevalent in seniors due to changes in the body as it ages. Having a dry mouth can encourage the growth of bacteria. But it is easy to address: drink more water, reduce your intake of alcohol, or chew sugar-free gum to stimulate the production of saliva.
- Say no to tobacco: In any form, tobacco can lead to many health problems, including throat and mouth cancer. Even though it is not common in Australia did you know that because it can contain sugar, chewing tobacco can also increase your chance of tooth decay? No tobacco is a safe amount to consume.
- Be aware of your medications: While your medications improve your health in most areas, in terms of your dental care, those medications can lead to dry mouth or an increase in oral fungi. Ask your doctor or dentist about your prescriptions and how they can affect your oral care.
- Are your dentures right for you? If you wear partial or complete dentures, you still need to be aware of your dental health! If your dentures do not fit correctly, if you don’t allow your dentist to maintain your dentures, or if you don’t leave your dentures out at night or clean your mouth and teeth properly it can lead to the growth of fungus and cause inflammation of the gums and early tooth loss of your remaining teeth. Don’t let that happen. Most dentures need to be relined every seven years or so.
- Keep your glasses well maintained. Letting the prescription lapse will mean that you cannot see plaque in your mouth properly. Don’t you hate bifocal or multifocal glasses! But leave that plaque behind at your peril… We find that patients who have kept their teeth well maintained all their lives can loose control of plaque and suffer from really bad decay because they cannot see the plaque. Ask Martin about plaque dye or disclosing solution which helps you to beat it quickly!
Keeping your teeth in shape as you get older requires good oral heath care which your dentist will teach you. In addition to the tips above, you should schedule regular maintenance visits with your dentist so that they can keep on top of any developing dental issues before they become a serious problem. Preventive care is your best defence.