Oral Health Care for Older Adults
As one grows, shall we say, in wisdom, oral health care is as important as at any other time of life. There are three ways in which age plays a part in your oral health care.
Natural wear and tear
Your teeth are prone to natural wear and tear. As you age, they are ground down due to eating and chewing on non-food items, like the end of a pen or pencil for example. Brushing incorrectly – too vigorously or in a way that pushes against the gums - can cause your gums to recede, making your teeth more susceptible to decay. Correct brushing and flossing can help prevent this. Even though the habits of a lifetime can be hard to break, it is well worth doing so.
Chronic disease medication
Older adults can often suffer from chronic diseases. Diabetes and heart disease are just two of the chronic diseases that older adults can suffer from. Both of these as well as bad oral health only adds to that burden. How?
- Chronic disease medication can also have a detrimental effect on the health of your teeth.
- A compromised immune system means that your body is less able to fight the bacteria that gathers in your mouth. This means your teeth are now far more vulnerable to decay.
Dry mouth is a condition caused by your salivary glands not producing enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. It tends to occur more often in older adults. It also results in:
- A change in your sense of taste
- A dry or sore throat and hoarseness
- A dry or grooved tongue
- A feeling of stickiness in your mouth
- Bad breath
- Difficulty chewing, speaking and swallowing
- Dryness in your mouth
- Problems wearing dentures
- Saliva that seems thick and stringy
4 Reasons why saliva is important
- Bacteria produces acids and saliva neutralises them and washes away food particles. Without saliva, both the bacteria and the acid they produce run rampant in your mouth.
- Saliva makes chewing and swallowing easier.
- Without saliva, your appetite, and your ability to taste, is compromised.
- Saliva has enzymes which begin the process of digesting your food.
If you need treatment for Dry Mouth, make an appointment with your doctor.
4 Ways to maintain good oral hygiene as you age
- Visit the dentist, and the oral hygienist, at least twice a year.
- Brush and floss correctly, and after every meal.
- Ask your dentist to check for any abnormal cells in your mouth. Catching them early can prevent oral cancer, which older adults are more prone to than younger people.
- If your teeth are too worn down and you have trouble eating, getting a crown is recommended.
- If your teeth have been removed, then a denture or dental implant is important to prevent the impact on the remaining teeth.
Are you wondering if you’re taking care of your teeth well enough to ensure a fabulous natural smile and healthy teeth as you age? Team dental can provide you with the best advice. Make an appointment today and we’ll help you keep that beautiful smile and strong, healthy teeth. Contact us on 0508 TEAM DENTAL