Most will agree that staying on top of your oral health is important at any age. According to Canyon Crest Dental, a premier dentist in Lehi, Utah, proper dental hygiene is even more critical for seniors. According to a study published by diabetes.org, nearly 27 percent of adults over the age of 65 have diabetes, which puts them at risk of developing gum disease. A separate study published by Science Daily revealed that nearly half of the United States’ senior citizens are struggling with cardiovascular disease, which, similar to diabetes, can increase their chances of developing gum disease. Because older adults have less tooth enamel, they’re more likely to develop cavities and, worse yet, tooth decay.
Besides routine brushing, what protective measures can seniors employ to promote good oral health? This list will review the everyday and bi-annual steps a senior citizen can take for their brightest smiles and the healthiest gums of their lives.
What steps can older adults take to safeguard their oral health?
If you identify as a senior and are curious about what you can do to keep your teeth and gums healthy as you live out your golden years, it’s encouraged you continue reading. Well, one way is by dropping by a good dentist; get your dental needs sorted out by this dentist south barrington IL if you need a recommendation. Summarized briefly, the key to good oral health as a senior doesn’t wander too far from the advice prescribed to younger adults. For both demographics, it boils down to vigilance and practicing good oral hygiene habits. That said, here are a few tips to help get you started:
Brushing twice per day
Making it a point to brush your teeth twice per day is a great way to keep them healthy and looking their best. Brushing twice per day prevents plaque and tartar buildup, both of which can leave teeth looking discolored and increase the risk of cavities and gum disease.
Flossing every day
Similar to brushing twice per day, daily flossing in-between your teeth is essential when it comes to safeguarding your oral health. Without routine flossing, food particles can get stuck in-between teeth and can lead to cavities.
While a toothbrush can keep teeth surfaces clean, it can’t access the small crevices in-between teeth. For this reason, most dentists and hygienists will encourage their patients to not only brush twice per day but also to floss daily.
Along with brushing twice per day and flossing, you should also use an antimicrobial mouthwash to keep gum disease and cavities at bay. After all, studies show that the average human mouth contains more than 700 different species of bacteria that can adversely affect your oral health. Sadly, brushing and flossing alone is not enough to get rid of them all.
Despite our best efforts, many of us still find ourselves confronted with dental problems such as cavities, root canals, gum disease, etc. The best way to keep small dental problems from spiraling into devastating disease is to monitor any changes in your oral cavity and to schedule an appointment with a licensed dentist if you happen to observe any abnormalities. After all, some changes could indicate oral cancer. Some of these changes include the following:
- If you find it difficult to move either your jaw or tongue
- If you find it difficult to chew or swallow
- Lumps or thick areas that form in your mouth or on your lips
- Numbness that affects your tongue, mouth, or jaw
- Pain in one or both ears that doesn’t involve hearing loss
- White spots on your mouth or lips that feel sore
- Unusual swelling in any part of your oral cavity
Sudden mouth dryness is another change to look out for when it comes to your oral health, as chronic dry mouth can lead to cavities, tooth decay, and even gum disease. In most cases, chronic dry mouth stems from pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s and certain medications.
In summary, there are many proactive steps that you can take today to keep your teeth and gums healthy. An added bonus is that most of these preventative measures will only take a few minutes to complete. Of course, if it’s been a while since your last checkup, it would be a good idea to schedule a dental exam with a licensed dentist to inspect your teeth for any signs of cavities, discoloration, or disease.