What Are Some Oral Hygiene Tips for Seniors?
Managing your teeth and gums as you age can prevent toothaches, decay, and loss. A healthy mouth also makes it comfortable to nourish yourself and enjoy the foods.
Caring for your mouth becomes even more essential if you are affected by systemic conditions like diabetes or heart disease or take medications that can cause problems with your oral health.
As a senior citizen, you must follow the steps described below to keep your teeth and gums healthy as you age.
Brush and Floss Your Teeth Daily
Brushing and flossing help eliminate dental plaque, a film of sticky bacteria constantly developing on your teeth. Non-removal of dental plaque on the teeth results in tooth decay or gum disease. Therefore you must brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste in the morning and before bed. Flossing is also essential to eliminate food particles and plaque trapped between your teeth. If you find it challenging to floss, as the dentist near you for recommendations about using interdental toothbrushes for help.
Keep Watch for Changes in Your Mouth
As you age, your risk of oral cancer increases. If you see the below-mentioned changes in your mouth, you must have them evaluated.
See the dentist in Smithfield if you have the following symptoms that do not subside for over two weeks:
Spots in the mouth, lips, cheeks, and throat feel uncomfortable and sore.
Lumps or abnormal developments in your mouth, lips, or throat.
Red-and-white patches in the mouth.
Challenges chewing, moving your jaw or tongue, and swallowing.
A painful ear without hearing loss.
Dental Visits for Dental Exams and Cleanings
There are no rules on how often you must visit your dentist. Dental appointments vary between patients. Therefore when you visit the Smithfield dental office for your routine appointment, it helps to inquire how often you must schedule appointments for exams and cleanings. Remember, Medicaid does not cover dental care, making it inevitable to obtain private dental insurance.
Discuss Dry Mouth Conditions with the Dentist
A dry mouth indicates your saliva production has decreased, making it challenging to keep your mouth wet. A dry mouth makes it difficult to eat, swallow, or speak. It can also result in tooth decay or infections.
A dry mouth can result from medicines, health conditions like diabetes, and chemotherapy or radiation for cancer. If you are combating dry mouth conditions, discuss your situation with the Smithfield dentist and inquire how to overcome the problem.
Healthy Habits Help
As you age, you must strive to build healthy habits to keep your teeth and gums in optimal shape. The practices you must incorporate include the following:
Limit your intake of sugary and carbohydrate-rich foods and sweetened drinks, preferring instead healthy foods like fruits and vegetables and water to prevent tooth decay and promote excellent overall health.
Quit smoking if you do or use tobacco products like chewing tobacco or snuff because it enhances the risks of oral cancer. Smoking is also responsible for periodontal disease. If you smoke, start planning to quit or request help from your dentist for free cessation techniques.
If you drink alcohol, limit your intake to moderation. It means one drink or less for women and two drinks for men. Excessive drinking also increases the risk of oral cancer.
Consequences of Not Caring for Your Mouth
As you get older and do not care for your mouth, you become vulnerable to oral infections requiring frequent dental visits for expensive treatments. You may even lose your natural teeth to require replacements like dentures because your health condition may not permit dentists to place dental implants.
While dentures are excellent for restoring missing teeth, they can cause you to endure discomfort by slipping and shifting when speaking and eating. Dentures also need frequent relining and adjustments as your jawbone changes shape to loosen the prosthetics. You can avoid all the above by caring for your mouth to help retain your natural teeth as best as possible.
As a senior citizen, you must remain determined to care for your teeth, gums, and oral cavity to ensure no untoward conditions afflict you at your age. If oral infections affect your mouth, healing from dental procedures requires more time. Therefore it is best to prevent dental problems from affecting you to keep yourself healthy.
As an older adult, if you need help to maintain your dental health to avoid infections, Webber Dental can provide plenty of beneficial tips. Consider arranging an appointment with them to learn how to care for your teeth and gums to stay on top of your dental health.