Oral Health for Seniors

Oral Health for Seniors

Oct 02, 2013

Adults today are keeping their natural teeth longer than any other generation in the past. The benefits of keeping your natural teeth include looking great, speaking clearly, and being able to eat all different types of foods and textures. In addition, a healthy mouth is related to your overall health. Good oral health is something to strive for at every age.

Fighting Gum Disease

It is important for you to see your dentist for a checkup at least twice a year, especially as you get older. The nerves in your teeth get smaller and less sensitive over time and may not alert you to a cavity right away. You also need to be checked for signs of gum disease. Advanced gum disease can destroy the bones and ligaments that support your teeth, leading to tooth loss. Regular dental visits help identify signs of early gum disease so you can be treated right away.

Detecting Oral Cancer

You also need to see your dentist regularly so that you can be screened for oral cancer. The American Cancer Society states that the average age people are diagnosed with mouth, throat, and tongue cancers is 62. Detection in the early stages is important. You may not see any symptoms, but if you do they can include open sores or patches on the lining of the mouth.

Treating Dry Mouth

When you visit the dentist, let him know all medications you are taking. Many medications cause dry mouth, including those for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Alzheimer’s disease. Dry mouth is a leading cause of cavities because saliva naturally protects your teeth by controlling bacteria. Fortunately there are ways to increase saliva production, including increased water intake and the use of fluoride gel, sugar-free gum, or over-the-counter oral moisturizers. Your dentist can give you additional suggestions.

Taking Care of Dentures

If you wear full or partial dentures you should clean them every day to remove bacteria. Always use cleaners made specifically for dentures because using ordinary toothpaste can damage them.  In addition, make sure to remove your dentures for a minimum of 24 hours a day to protect the lining of your mouth.

While regular checkups and cleanings are important, it is also essential that you eat a healthy diet. Choosing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is one way to prevent tooth decay. Also avoid processed foods as well as those high in sugar. Working with your dentist is more important than ever as you get older. Together you can keep your mouth healthy which leads to good overall health.

Image Source: flickr.com/photos/67835627@N05

Original Source: https://www.craigarmstrongdds.com/cleanings-and-prevention/oral-health-seniors