Seniors are keeping their own teeth longer than before with the increase in dental technology. Also because of the widespread availability of good toothbrushes, better toothpastes and better oral care tools, it’s easier to keep teeth in good condition. But as people get older, there are certain issues which may come up that weren’t there when that person was younger. Whether living in an independent living community or on their own, seniors should take dental health seriously.
Issues with dental care
Some contributing factors can cause problems with an older person’s mouth. Some of the dental challenges that seniors may face are listed below:
- Dry mouth can be can be caused by side effects from different medications. Over 400 medications which are taken by seniors can cause dry mouth. Since salvia helps to kill bad bacteria and rebuild enamel, dry mouth increases the risk of oral disease.
- Disease can also affect the mouth and teeth. These would include thrush and oral cancer to name a few.
- Root decay is caused when the roots of the teeth are exposed because the gums recede.
- Dental attrition is the wear and tear on teeth as a person ages. When teeth wear down, the cavity risk will increase.
How to maintain a healthy mouth
There are things which can be done for seniors to maintain healthy mouths. Some of these suggestions are listed below:
- Drink more water if medications are causing dry mouth. Also, ask the doctor if medications can be switched to something which doesn’t cause this issue. You can use a mouthwash for dry mouth too.
- Increase fluoridation by switching to a fluoride toothpaste or using a fluoride rinse after brushing.
- After brushing and flossing, use an antibacterial mouthwash to avoid plaque buildup.
- Avoid tobacco in any form. Not only does this increase the risk of throat and mouth cancer, but also heart disease as well as other medical conditions. Chewing tobacco contains sugar so it can lead to tooth decay too.
- Regularly visit the dentist. Also, teeth cleaning done by a dentist is very important, especially when you have a receding gum line.
Keeping teeth and the mouth in good shape as a person ages can be done by practicing good dental health.