Senior Dental Care

Educating Seniors On Senior Dental Care

Your mouth is the gateway to your body. Maintaining good oral health habits is very important because unhealthy bacteria in your mouth not only can harm your teeth and gums but may be associated with serious medical conditions. Research shows that mouth infections may be associated with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia, and other health problems. Senior dental care should not be overlooked.

Adult Oral Health

Almost 250 million people or about 40 percent of the adult population in Europe, USA and Japan are estimated to suffer from some form of edentulousness or loss of natural teeth. The incidence of tooth loss generally increases with age. While the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) reports the prevalence of both partial and total tooth loss in seniors has decreased from the early 1970s, seniors over age 65 have lost an average of 13 teeth, including wisdom teeth) and 26% of seniors over the age of 65 have no remaining teeth.

Whether caring for natural teeth or dentures, seniors face a range of special oral concerns, including root decay and periodontal disease. Keep your smile healthy by following a routine of proper oral care and making regular visits to a registered dental hygienist and dentist.

If you have arthritis or limited use of your hands, try adapting the toothbrush for easy use. Insert the handle into a rubber ball or sponge hair curler. Toothbrush handles can be lengthened with a piece of wood or plastic such as a ruler or tongue depressor. For people who have dexterity problems and can not use a manual toothbrush, an electric toothbrush may be easier to use and increase effectiveness. Numerous studies confirm that electric brushes are excellent plaque removing devices and are extremely effective in stimulating gums. Dental floss holders are also available.

Among other benefits, daily brushing and flossing protect from two common problems: Root decay, a condition that affects older adults, if a great number of root surfaces are exposed, and tooth decay caused by the weakening or chipping of older fillings.

Denture Care and Cleaning

Dentures, full or partial, should be brushed daily with a soft toothbrush, using a commercially prepared denture cleaning powder or paste, hand soap, or baking soda. Toxic or abrasive household cleaners should never be used. Dentures should be brushed inside and outside, and rinsed with cold water. When not in use, they should be covered with water or denture cleaning solution to prevent drying. Remaining natural teeth, especially those supporting a partial denture, should be brushed on a regular basis.

These simple steps for senior dental care will help you be mouth healthy for life:

Brush and floss daily

Visit your dentist regularly

Eat nutritious foods