Maintaining Oral Health for Older Adults
A healthy mouth can help you feel good, speak confidently, and eat delicious and nutritious foods. Those are a few of the many reasons why maintaining good oral care is especially important in older adults. As we age, we are at risk for more health concerns and the chance of one day losing our teeth. Fortunately, this risk is decreasing thanks to more education on oral care and the availability of better oral tools. You get one set of permanent teeth, so it’s important to remember that keeping your oral health in good condition might require extra attention. Here are a few oral care tips to help you.
Oral Health Problems
In older adults, certain oral conditions start to develop that weren’t there when you were younger, which includes:
- Root Decay- this is when the roots of your teeth become exposed as your gums recede from decay-causing acids. The rate of decaying increases as you age.
- Dry Mouth- Reduced saliva flow can result from the physical changes in the body as you age, but can also be caused by cancer treatments that use radiation, as well as many medicines. Since saliva helps kill bacteria and build enamel, it puts you at an increased risk for oral disease.
- Darkened Teeth- this can be caused by the consumption of stain-causing foods and beverages, such as berries, pasta sauce, coffee, soda, and wine, and sometimes by the changes in the bone-like tissue that underlies your tooth enamel.
- Diseases- this includes thrush, which is an overgrowth of fungus in the mouth, and a more serious illness such as oral cancer.
- Tooth Loss- this is mainly caused by gum disease, which can be caused by poor diets, diabetes, the use of tobacco products, plaque, poor-fitting dentures, and certain diseases. All of these are often problems for older adults.
Maintaining Oral Care
However, there are many things you can do to maintain your oral health:
- Visit your dentist regularly for an oral exam and cleaning
- Floss at least once a day
- Brush teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and then rinse with a fluoride mouthwash
- Avoid the use of tobacco, which has been linked to throat and mouth cancer, and other serious conditions, such as heart disease.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash when brushing and flossing. This may reduce the buildup of leftover food.
Contact Aesthetic Family Dentistry at our Port Jervis office to schedule an appointment. We can discuss the best way to keep your oral health in tip-top shape.