Whether you’re 9 years or 99 years old, dental care is important. If you’re 65 or older, and you’re considered a senior citizen (even though we hope you still feel 35!), it’s especially important to keep a keen eye on your oral health.
After all, poor oral health can have a negative effect on your overall health and well-being, as gum disease has been potentially linked to a whole host of issues including stroke, high blood pressure, and even heart disease.
So as a senior, what should you do to protect your oral health and keep your gums and teeth healthy and happy?
In this article, we’re going to share a few of the most common dental issues faced by seniors, and give you six specific tips on how you can continue to maintain a healthy mouth well into your golden years.
What are a few of the most common dental problems for seniors?
There are a few issues that are quite commonplace in seniors. Here they are:
● Darkened teeth. This can be caused by changes in dentin as you age, or could be caused by smoking or drinking too many dark beverages. Depending on the cause, teeth whitening may help.
● Tooth decay. Your teeth have a lot of wear and tear over the years, and as a result, tooth decay is a common issue for seniors.
● Dry mouth and/or bad breath (halitosis). Dry mouth or gum disease can be the cause of chronic bad breath, known as halitosis. We can talk with you about your options for helping eliminate or manage chronic bad breath.
● The loss of one or more teeth. This can be due to gum disease, dental trauma, and more. We provide many treatment options for patients who are missing teeth.
● Red, bleeding, or inflamed gums (often the result of gum disease)
If you have any of these problems, you should see a dentist immediately, and if you’re in or around the Alpharetta, GA area, we encourage you to contact us, as we would love to help you get your oral health back on track.
6 tips to keep your mouth healthy if you’re over 65
Brush gently and often
When some people get into their 60s and they are no longer having to go to work every day or shuffle the kids around all of the time, they tend to overlook their health and wellness as a whole.
In reality, you should do the opposite, especially when it comes to your dental health. As you get older, your teeth and gums inevitably have more “wear and tear” on them than when you were younger.
This means that you actually need to be even more aware of your oral health, and take the necessary steps to keep your teeth and gums clean. At Advanced Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, we recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day for approximately two minutes.
It’s important to brush gently and thoroughly but doesn’t overbrush. Brushing too hard (or using a toothpaste that is too abrasive) can actually wear down your teeth enamel, which isn’t good.
You should still be flossing every day
Flossing is such a simple habit, yet many people don’t do it. Most estimates put adults who floss daily between 30-50%. Flossing removes small food particles, debris, and bacteria from between your teeth, and can be done in less than a minute.
If you’re a senior, and you’ve never made flossing part of your daily oral hygiene routine, get started now.
If you wear removable dentures, keep them clean
Many seniors are opting to replace their removable dentures with a fixed denture or dental implants (more on that below). However, if you currently wear a removable denture, it’s important to clean it daily, since any bacteria or debris on your denture will likely come into contact with your gums, which could increase your chances of getting gum disease.
Even if you already have gum disease, you still want to care for your dentures appropriately, as gum disease can quickly accelerate into a more advanced stage called periodontal disease, which can, in turn, lead to a wide variety of health issues.
Stay hydrated (and avoid dry mouth)
It’s not uncommon for senior citizens (especially men) to use the bathroom more in their old age. As a result, some senior citizens actively try to drink less so they won’t have to go as often.
While this is certainly understandable, staying adequately hydrated is not only important for your overall health, it’s important for your dental health as well.
In addition to upping your water intake, you may want to talk with your doctor to see if any of your medications may cause dry mouth, and if there are any other alternative medications you can try instead.
If you’re missing one or more teeth, discuss dental implants with a dentist
Many seniors are missing one or more teeth. In some cases, this is due to years of neglect or poor dental hygiene, and in other cases, it can simply be attributed to wear and tear over the years, as well as genetics.
The reason you’re missing your teeth isn’t that important, but what is important is getting the care and treatment you need to replace your missing teeth.
If you’re missing one or more teeth, you are probably suffering from one of the following issues:
● A lack of self-confidence. You don’t want to smile because you don’t want others to see your missing or decaying teeth.
● A sunken look in your face. Teeth provide structure for our faces, and when several teeth are missing, it can change the symmetry and structure of the face. Dental implants can help to restore your natural smile and make you look younger.
● Difficulty eating certain foods. It’s impossible to eat certain foods when you’re missing teeth (or even if you have dentures). Dental implants are titanium screws that provide the same anchoring effect as a natural tooth root. The result is you can eat just about anything you want without worrying if your teeth will shift.
Dental implants are an ideal solution for many seniors, and if you would like to learn more, simply visit this page: https://www.acfdga.com/dental-implants
Limit your soft drink intake
It’s no secret that alcohol and tobacco products are bad for your teeth and gums, but so are soft drinks. Listen, we’re not saying that you shouldn’t ever drink a soft drink again, but you should be aware that some of them are highly acidic, and that acid can wear down your enamel over time.
In addition to soft drinks, many citrus fruits are also high in acid content and should be consumed in moderation.
So…have you been to the dentist lately?
If you’re a senior living in or visiting the Alpharetta area, and you haven’t been to the dentist in awhile, now is the perfect time to go ahead and schedule your next appointment.
At Advanced Cosmetic & Family Dentistry in Alpharetta, Dr. Brett Silverman and his team love taking care of patients of all ages, and have a special place in hearts for seniors!
To book your appointment, you can call us today at 678-245-6816. We can’t wait to meet you!