In this edition of Wellness Wednesdays, we look at dental care for seniors and tips for maintaining a happy and healthy smile!
As you or your loved one ages, you may notice changes that need to be made when it comes to taking care of your/their teeth and gums. By making smart choices and taking good care of teeth and gums, seniors of all ages can enjoy good oral health.
Oral Health Risks for Seniors
Aging puts many seniors at risk for a number of oral health problems including:
- Darkened teeth
- Dry mouth
- Diminished sense of taste
- Root decay
- Gum disease
- Tooth loss
- Denture-induced stomatitis (Inflammation of the tissue underlying a denture)
Oral Hygiene Tips for Seniors
To maintain good oral hygiene, it is important for seniors to:
- Brush at least twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste
- Floss at least once a day
- Visit your dentist on a regular basis for cleaning and an oral exam
- Use antibacterial mouth rinse to reduce bacteria that cause plaque and gum disease
- Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed
- Quit smoking
- Limit intake of food and beverages that are high in sugar
- Increase calcium in your diet to strengthen your teeth
If you or your loved one wears dentures:
- Remember to clean them on a daily basis with cleaners made specifically for dentures
- Take your dentures out of your mouth for at least four hours every 24 hours to keep the lining of your mouth healthy
Affording Dental Care for Seniors
If you or your loved one are on a limited fixed income and cannot afford regular dental care, many dentists offer their services at reduced fees through dental society-sponsored programs. Since aid varies from one community to another, call your local dental office for information about where you can find the nearest assistance programs and low-cost dental care locations.
Remember, you are never too old to have healthy teeth and gums! By maintaining good oral health you or your loved one can have a happy and healthy smile for years to come!
Don’t miss our next edition of Wellness Wednesday’s where we look at prevention techniques for avoiding Arthritis.