Oral Health Guide for Seniors

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Good oral hygiene does not decrease in importance as you continue to age. In fact, practicing the daily habits of oral hygiene is more important than ever for seniors, because of their increased risk for oral health problems.

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Oral Health Guide for Seniors

  1. 1. Oral Health Guide for Seniors Good oral hygiene doesn’t become less important as you age. In fact, practicing the daily habits of oral hygiene is more important than ever for older adults, because of their increased risk for oral health problems. Access to professional dental care, as well as keeping up with daily habits like brushing and flossing, can go a long way in preventing things like gum disease and tooth loss later in life. Good oral health can help seniors to enjoy a higher quality of life, feel confident in their teeth and smiles, and continue to eat the foods they enjoy. Potential Oral Health Problems for Seniors It’s a fact of life that as our bodies age, we’re faced with more and more health problems, and our teeth our no different. Here are a few oral health problems which seniors have an increased risk for:  Dry mouth: Dry mouth is the result of a reduced flow of saliva in the mouth. It can be brought on by certain medications, diseases, and radiation treatment for cancer patients.  Discolored teeth: After a lifetime of eating and drinking substances that stain teeth over time, teeth will naturally change from white to yellow or grey colors. Regular brushing and flossing can slow this discoloring effect, and there are steps a dentist can take to whiten your teeth.  Exposed roots: Gum tissue will recede over time, sometimes caused by gum disease, but other times it’s simply a result of aging. The exposed roots aren’t protected by enamel, and they are susceptible to decay.  Gum disease: The bacteria found in plaque can cause gums to inflame, but other things like smoking or chewing tobacco, ill-fitting dentures, poor diet, cancer, and diabetes can exacerbate the condition.  Loss of teeth: Gum disease can cause receding gums and exposed roots, ultimately leading to tooth loss. A lifetime of brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist is the best way to combat gum disease, and by extension, tooth loss. These oral health problems aren’t exclusive to seniors—in fact, they can occur at any stage in life. However, conditions like arthritis can make it difficult to brush and floss, and certain drugs may contain side effects that contribute to some of these problems. Tips for Good Oral Hygiene for Seniors Many of the good oral hygiene habits that are important for children and young adults are equally important for older adults as well. This includes:
  2. 2.  Brushing twice a day: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Practice good technique (brush in small, circular motion at an angle, right up to the gum line), and brush thoroughly for at least 2 minutes.  Flossing once a day: You’re missing out on at least one third of the surface of your teeth if you skip flossing.  Regular dental visits: Professional teeth cleaning and an oral exam are an important part of maintaining good oral hygiene. When you visit your dentist, it’s important to ask questions about the challenges of good oral hygiene as you continue to age. Your dentist will be most capable of answering these questions, and helping you achieve the best possible oral health. To schedule an appointment with a dentist in West Jordan, contact Out of This World Dentistry today!

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