Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene – Tips for Seniors
There are many oral health problems seniors will experience as they age. Dry mouth, tooth loss and gum disease are just a few of these issues, and maintaining good oral hygiene is essential for the elderly. With the help of the following tips, seniors can benefit from better dental care and health. Seeing a dentist
Of course, one of the most important rules to follow in order to maintain good dental health is to see a dentist on a regular basis. Here are some of the things you should talk to your dentist about:
- Any changes you may have noticed about your teeth
- Increased sensitiveness in the teeth
- Problems related to chewing, tasting food, or swallowing
- Soreness, bleeding or discomfort in the mouth
- Swelling in the mouth
Dental care is essential for your health, and not just because you risk losing your teeth if you do not care for them. There are no less than 120 diseases and conditions that can manifest through symptoms in the mouth area, so see your dentist at least two times per year, or even more often, if you are noticing any problems.
Fight dental plaque
Dental plaque is responsible for many problems in the mouth and teeth area, especially periodontal disease. This condition can lead to losing all your teeth, if dental plaque is not fought against effectively.
What you can do is brush your teeth at least two times every day. Use a fluoride based toothpaste, as this is the most efficient in fighting the building of plaque. You should also floss once a day, to make sure that there are no food remains stuck between your teeth. Even if you brush religiously, your toothbrush cannot reach these areas very well, and only flossing can prevent the accumulation of food remains. When they decompose these remains feed the bacteria responsible for tooth decay, and this is how cavities appear.
Drink fluorinated water
One of the reasons why many of the elderly today may experience more problems regarding dental health than other categories of age is because fluorinated water was not a fixture when they were young. However, they can work towards achieving better dental care, if they drink fluorinated water even now. Do this as often as possible, as the substance in the water will help your teeth get stronger.
Give up smoking
It is a proven fact that smokers are more likely to developing periodontal disease than non-smokers. Giving up smoking will have great benefits for your health, beyond protecting your teeth. Respiratory conditions and especially lung cancer are caused by prolonged smoking.
Limit alcohol consumption
Alcohol is not recommended for the elderly. Drinking alcohol leads to dehydration, and dehydration causes dry mouth symptoms. When your mouth is excessively dry, the bacteria living inside the mouth will start growing, contributing to the appearance of cavities.
Be aware of side effects of medication
There are many medications that can cause dry mouth, such as drugs for reducing blood pressure, for treating depression and urinary conditions. Even pain relievers can be responsible for the appearance of dry mouth symptoms. Do not try to compensate by chewing tobacco; instead, try drinking plenty of water, so that your mouth is washed of the bacteria living there as often as possible..