As we get older, a lot will change throughout our bodies, and taking care of our health becomes a top priority. This also includes taking good care of our teeth and oral health. In fact, the elderly population faces unique challenges when it comes to oral care as they’re at higher risk of multiple dental concerns such as tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer, and dry mouth. However, with proper knowledge and care from their dentist in Portland, seniors can maintain their oral health and enjoy a confident smile.
Get Regular Dental Check-ups
Regular dental check-ups are crucial for seniors to monitor their oral health and address any concerns promptly. Dental professionals can detect signs of dental issues such as oral cancer and gum disease early when they can still be treated easily and often very successfully. Additionally, their dentist in Portland will conduct professional cleanings and offer preventive treatments, both of which are necessary for maintaining a healthy mouth.
Brush & Floss Every Day
It’s important to brush and floss your teeth every day no matter how old you are. Keeping up with those good habits into the senior years can help reduce the risk of oral health problems. Encourage the elderly to brush their teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Remind them to brush gently along the gumline and clean their tongue to remove bacteria. Flossing daily is also crucial for removing plaque and debris from between the teeth. If you have an elderly family member that’s having trouble brushing and flossing, talk to your dentist about alternative tools that may be easier to use such as an electric toothbrush or water flosser.
Eat a Nutrient-Rich Diet
A healthy diet plays a significant role in maintaining both overall and oral health. Everyone, including seniors, should consume a nutrient-rich diet that consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy products. These foods provide essential vitamins and minerals necessary for strong teeth and gums. Limiting sugary and acidic foods and beverages can help prevent tooth decay.
Be Aware of Medication Side Effects
It’s essential for seniors or their caregivers to inform their dentist about all medications they are taking as some medications can impact oral health. For example, dry mouth is a common side effect of medications or could result from a medical condition. Dry mouth can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Encourage seniors to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies can help stimulate saliva production.
Talk About Tooth Replacement Treatments
While it’s entirely possible for some people to keep their natural teeth throughout their lives, the truth is that tooth loss becomes more common as we get older. But there are many tooth replacement treatments available for those who do lose teeth, from dentures to bridges, or even dental implants. Your dentist in Portland will be able to help find the best tooth replacement option.
Maintaining oral health in the elderly requires consistent oral hygiene routines, addressing dry mouth, eating a nutrient-rich diet, and regular dental check-ups. By implementing these essential tips, seniors can enjoy a healthy smile, improved well-being, and a better quality of life. Encouraging and supporting the elderly in their oral care efforts is crucial for promoting their overall health and helping them maintain their beautiful smiles for years to come.