Maintaining good oral health in your senior years

By September 20, 2012Archives

With all the advanced oral health techniques and preventative care available today, seniors can expect to keep most of their own teeth. The two most important oral health factors when it comes to seniors are to maintain a regular preventative care routine at home, along with making regular visits to a dentist. As seniors age, however, they must be prepared to make some changes when it comes to the way they brush their teeth and care for their oral tissues. The following tips can help seniors and their caregivers to enjoy years of great oral health.

Caring for Dentures and Partials

Seniors must understand that their dentures and partials need just as much care as their natural teeth. In order to keep germs to a minimum and prevent any oral infections, seniors or their caregivers must do the following:

–Take dentures out every night before bed.
–Brush dentures with denture toothbrush and rinse them.
–Soak them overnight in a denture cleaner or warm water.

Seniors and their caregivers must also be aware of any changes in the fit of the denture. If the denture begins to feel uncomfortable or seems to be rubbing a certain spot within the gingival tissues, seniors should see their dentist as soon as possible for adjustments.

Toothbrush Modifications

When conditions such as arthritis make it difficult for seniors to hold a toothbrush on their own or to properly use floss, they should talk to their dentist about an alternative that will suit their situation. Many times it becomes necessary for senior caregivers or at-home health care services to actually brush and floss for the senior. As long as a regular oral health routine is maintained, most seniors are able to keep their own teeth.

Cavities

When seniors have their natural teeth, they still have the possibility of developing a cavity. Unfortunately, seniors are more likely to have cavities develop around the root of a tooth. As with people of all ages, the most effective way for seniors to prevent cavities is to follow a daily routine of brushing and flossing.

Dry Mouth

Many seniors develop dry mouth, or xerostomia, when their saliva glands slow down. Many different diseases and medications can cause the saliva glands to stop working, which increases the potential for developing cavities. Saliva is the best natural mouth cleanser and helps to wash away all the bacteria that are found within the mouth. There are specially formulated mouth washes that seniors and their caregivers can utilize to combat dry mouth. It is always best to speak with a dental professional to determine how to fight effects of dry mouth.

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