As we get older, our health is a higher priority.
Scheduling doctors’ appointments are much more routine as we hope to live well into our upper years to see our kids and grand kids grow up.
One doctor we cannot forget to schedule, though, is our dentist. Maintaining your oral health should be at the top of your health routine as you get older.
The negative impact that various food and cigarettes have on our teeth can be amplified, and that damage can be more difficult to reverse as a result.
Here are 4 things you can do the make sure your teeth and mouth stay healthy in your senior years:
1. Dental Routine: The risk of cavities increases as you age so you should continue to brush and floss twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Your teeth age with you and you don’t want to neglect them.
Over 30% of adults have untreated cavities and nearly the same percentage lose their teeth. If you find your teeth and gums are becoming more sensitive, ask your dentist to recommend a toothpaste for people with sensitive gums to brush with. If you have always brushed your teeth twice a day, then this routine should not be a problem to keep!
2. Dental Visits: While many people lose their dental insurance coverage when they retire, there are many affordable dental care options out there for seniors. It is important to continue to go to the dentist regularly as they can keep an eye out for any tooth decay, gum disease, or lost teeth.
As we age, gum disease gets more serious. According to the CDC, 23% of 65-74 year old’s have severe gum disease and gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. When you do visit the dentist, you should be sure to mention if you have any teeth that are hurting or if you have noticed any lumps or dryness in your mouth. Being upfront and honest with your dentist is a good way to catch any problems early on.
3. Denture care: Everyone has seen pictures of removable dentures in a glass before bedtime, but keeping your dentures clean can be a little more complicated than that. Cleaning your dentures is just like cleaning regular teeth, meaning they should be brushed daily to remove any food deposits and keep plaque away.
Brushing your mouth with a soft-bristled toothbrush after removing your dentures also helps eliminate any bacteria that may hang around.
If your dentures have a loose fit, then you should see your dentist as soon as possible because ill-fitting dentures can lead to pain, sores, or infections.
Taking proper care of your dentures can seem like extra work, but making sure they stay clean will help you stay healthy!
4. Other diseases: Unfortunately, serious diseases like cancer are inevitable for seniors around the world. If you do get diagnosed with a serious health issue, you need to remember how this will affect the rest of your body.
For example, if you have cancer, it’s important to see your dentist before beginning any chemotherapy to the head or neck area, as these therapies can damage oral tissues and cause tooth decay.
Talk to your dentist after you are diagnosed and before you start treatment so that you can take care of your mouth properly without interfering with your new routine or medication. Diseases like diabetes or heart disease also affect your oral health, so make sure to let your dentist know if you’re experiencing these ailments. By keeping your dentist in the loop, you can ensure that your oral health will remain intact while dealing with other health issues.
Even if you have never kept a close watch on your oral hygiene, it is never too late to start caring about your teeth. By maintaining a simple dental hygiene routine and visiting the dentist regularly, then your mouth will stay healthy for a long time!
Brian Rees is a media relations representative for Denture Helper. In his spare time, he enjoys writing, music, and maintaining a healthy, conscious lifestyle.
Thank you Brian for reminding us to take good care of our teeth – if we want them to last a lifetime! …Edward Thorpe…Editor