Senior Dental Care

6 Tips for Seniors on Maintaining Their Own “Choppers”!

Maintaining good dental health habits is very important as we age. According to statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 16.4% of adults aged 65 – 74 were missing all their natural teeth. For the group over 75, the rate of loss of all teeth is 26.8%. One reason for dental decay at a higher rate in senior years is that gum recession exposes a larger part of the teeth to contaminants.

Decay and loss of natural teeth are not inevitable in the senior years, however. Through proper oral hygiene, the elderly can maintain good dental health, which in turn will have a positive effect on their general health. There is a connection between oral health and general health as bacteria that collects in the mouth travels throughout the body and can cause or accelerate health problems in other areas. These problems include respiratory infections, diabetic complications, cardiovascular disease, and even dementia.

A comprehensive oral hygiene routine will help prevent bacteria build-up in the mouth. The following represents what can be construed as common sense advice, but is not always followed by the elderly because of forgetfulness, a change in routine, or a lack of control over one’s schedule or diet.

  1. Daily Cleaning Brushing and flossing are the best defense against bacterial build-up, decay and gum disease. Brush with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day (after each meal, if possible).
  2. Routine Visits to the Dentist – An annual dental check-up supports a daily cleaning regimen. Be sure to update your doctor on the meds being taken and any health issues since the last check-up. Select a dentist with experience dealing with the elderly.
  3. Be Aware of Dry Mouth – Adding a moisturizing mouthwash to the daily cleaning routine can eliminate dry mouth which can create tooth decay and irritation to the skin under dentures, causing them to fit poorly.
  4. Diet and Nutrition – Be sure to get sufficient fresh fruits and vegetables – chewing is a good exercise for the mouth. Drink plenty of water to remain hydrated and flush out toxins in the body.
  5. Do Not Smoke – Or use chewing tobacco for that matter. Both are bad for oral health, as well as for general health.
  6. Check Your Toothbrush – If arthritis makes it difficult to hold a toothbrush or to properly use floss, talk to the dentist about a modification – a special tool or having a health care provider brush and floss for the senior.

While these tips for good dental hygiene may have been firmly ingrained throughout a lifetime, sometimes these healthy habits go by the wayside in the senior years. Some may have impaired cognitive skills and no longer understand the need. Others may not have the mobility to get to a dental office.

Dental hygiene is important to overall health and will help ensure that our natural teeth will continue to serve us well into our advanced years.

Need a dental consultation in Central Massachusetts?

Schedule your dental check-up today, at our Friendly Dental of Worcester office at (508) 791-4000, Unique Dental of Worcester office at (508) 753-5488, Taunton Dental Center office at (508) 822-1281, Uxbridge Family Dental office at (508) 278-2015.

Request an appointment today.

 

Request an appointment today.

 

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