7 Dental Health Tips for Seniors

One of the greatest myths about aging and dental health is that you will lose your teeth during aging. That is not true. Aging is a natural and irreversible process that depends on many factors such as heredity, environment and your way of life. Your teeth should last a lifetime and your life is in your hands.

Common changes in dental health in seniors

The quality of your life can be affected by the condition of the mouth and teeth, as well as systemic diseases or lack of teeth.  The most common changes in the mouth, which you can notice during aging, are:

  • Tooth and root decay: Tooth decay is not only a problem for older people but can also occur due to the lack of proper oral hygiene
  • Tooth loss: It was once believed that tooth loss and the occurrence of dullness were a normal part of old age; however, the problem may arise even at a young age because of inadequate oral hygiene, and some seniors cannot clean their teeth because they have arthritis or poor eyesight, and autoimmune diseases can cause problems with gums and teeth
  • Gum disease and stomatitis: Plaque buildup can lead to receding and inflammation of the gums and tooth loss; older people who wear poor-fitting dentures can have bad dental hygiene or a build-up of a fungus known as candida albicans, which can result in inflammation of the tissue under your dentures called stomatitis, which makes wearing dentures very uncomfortable
  • Darkened teeth: This is the result of consumption of stain-causing food and drinks
  • Diminished taste: Certain drugs, systemic diseases and the aging process itself can lead to a difference in taste
  • Dry mouth: Reduced salivation occurs very often with seniors, as well as with people who have diabetes and who are on cancer treatments.

What seniors can do to improve dental health

When we talk about your dental health, what exactly do we mean? What steps should you take to make your teeth healthy and clean? Here are seven tips for seniors.

1. Brush your teeth and floss every day

It is essential to brush your teeth at least two times a day for two minutes. Use toothpaste with fluoride and soft brushes. Flossing is a simple habit that removes small food, debris and bacteria residue.

2. Stop smoking

Smoking increases the risk of oral cancer and throat problems. Chewing tobacco damages teeth and oral mucosa, as it also contains sugar.

3. Stay hydrated

Increase fluid intake to reduce dryness of the mouth, chew gum without sugar to stimulate the production of the saliva and avoid alcohol consumption because it dehydrates the entire body.

4. Eat healthily

Reduce the amount of sugar in your body. Do not drink too much citrus because it can damage your teeth.

5. Upgrade your missing teeth

A dentist will help you with the choice of dental care, depending on whether you are missing one or more teeth.

6. Do you have diabetes or another illness?

People with diabetes must control their level of blood sugar and increase their oral hygiene. We recommend the use of sugar-free mouthwash after each wash.

7. Dental checkups

It is critical to visit your dentist regularly every six months. You need to ensure that you do not have any hidden decay or other lesions and that you practice good oral hygiene.

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