8 Methods for Seniors to Prioritize Oral Health
1. Brush Twice a Day with Fluoride Toothpaste
Seniors should brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease. Antibacterial rinses are also effective in reducing plaque buildup and helping individuals maintain fresh breath. Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens the resistance of tooth enamel and the hard tissues in the mouth. It can also inhibit bacteria from sticking to your teeth, causing cavities. With age, seniors produce less saliva than younger people, which leaves their gums more vulnerable to disease. Therefore, this group of individuals needs to brush their teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. But seniors, especially those who wear dentures, may need more supervision when brushing their teeth–especially if they brush too hard. This will help fight against caries and gum disease, helping protect your mouth!
2. Floss and Brush your Tongue at Least Once a Day
Dental floss is vital in maintaining healthy teeth and gums. It’s important to floss once a day for seniors, especially those who wear dentures, as it can aid in removing plaque from the tooth-supporting gum tissues. Best dentist glendale AZ advice against using waxed floss as it can damage gums. Instead, use unwaxed floss and clean between all of your teeth. Avoiding bacterial buildup is particularly important for seniors as their bodies are more susceptible to oral disease than younger individuals.
When you’re brushing your teeth, don’t forget about the tongue. Many bacteria can hide in the nooks and crannies on your tongue, especially if you have a dry mouth. Seniors should make sure to wipe their tongues twice a day, to remove this buildup of bacteria.
3. Rinse with Antiseptic Mouthwash after Brushing
As mentioned before, bacteria can accumulate on your tongue and teeth after eating. Seniors should rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash containing alcohol or chlorhexidine immediately after brushing their teeth to reduce bacteria in the mouth. You should only use this kind of mouthwash if you have a dry mouth because it dries out your mouth more and decreases salivary flow. Mouthwash is also a good way to kill bacteria that cause bad breath.
4. Avoid Smoking, Chewing Tobacco, or Using Dip
Smoking significantly increases the risk of oral cancer in older adults. They are 18 times more likely than non-smokers to develop this type of cancer. They are also more likely to die from oral cancer. In general, smoking harms the health of your mouth.
Another common oral health hazard is chewing tobacco or using dip. Chewing tobacco can cause decay and periodontal disease due to the acids and chemicals when placed in your mouth. These substances can irritate your gums, causing them to recede and become more susceptible to disease according to dental care for seniors. A dip is a form of tobacco that you use by placing it between your lower lip and gum or teeth. It can cause oral cancer when placed next to the mouth and have negative effects on those who use it regularly because it causes dry mouth.
5. Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet
Brushing your teeth and flossing are vital in maintaining your oral health, but they aren’t the only things you can do! Eating right is important as well. Not eating enough fruits and vegetables or not having enough calcium in your diet increases your risk for tooth disease.
But when it comes to eating fruit, not just any fruit will do! Certain fruits and vegetables contain a lot of sugar, which can cause cavities if consumed excessively. It’s best to stick with healthy snacks full of sugar like apples, carrots, raisins, or lettuce.
6. Schedule Regular Dentist Visits
Seniors should make sure to visit the dentist at least once per year. Even if you aren’t experiencing any pain, seniors need to keep up with best dentist glendale AZ. During an annual or bi-annual appointment, your dentist or hygienist will check your teeth and gums for any signs of oral disease and then determine how to treat it best. They will remove plaque deposits and any tartar that has built up on the teeth, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease. By removing this buildup regularly, you’ll be able to prevent future problems.
The dentist might also perform a few other kinds of examination during an appointment for seniors. The doctor might take x-rays of the mouth and teeth to check for tooth decay. This tool can be used to look at your mouth from various angles so they can see whether or not any cavities are present. They might also conduct an oral cancer screening, which involves looking into your mouth for any signs of abnormality.
7. Keep Dentures Clean
A lot of seniors wear dentures. However, often when they go to the dentist for a general check-up, they are told that their dentures need to be cleaned. This is because food can get trapped between the teeth on their dentures and start growing bacteria. When this happens, you’ll have plaque buildup on your dentures. The best way to clean your dentures is to soak them in soapy water and then brush them with a soft toothbrush according to dental health care glendale dental care for seniors. You should also floss regularly; if you have loose or flimsy dentures that are causing problems while eating, talk to your dentist about getting new, more supportive ones.
8. Protect Your Teeth from Injury
Even if you do take care of your teeth and gums, sometimes things happen to them regardless. Seniors should always protect their teeth when participating in activities that expose them to injuries. Sports like football, soccer, or hockey are notorious for causing mouth injuries because players can get hit in the mouth with a ball or puck. During these kinds of activities, you should be sure to wear mouth guards that are designed to protect your teeth from injury. Wearing this kind of protective gear can also help prevent further damage if you get hit in the mouth, so it’s worth getting one for yourself and wearing it!
If you take good care of your mouth, you can protect yourself from oral disease and keep your smile healthy for many years to come. Taking the proper steps to maintain a healthy mouth is essential to living a long, happy life! Take these dental care for seniors tips to heart and remember them when it’s time for your next visit with the dentist or hygienist!