HEALTHY AGEING

Keep smiling through your golden days with good dental habits read

Dec 28 2020

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Dental habits are often ignored among more severe conditions. Know that dental health is critically important as it is not just for maintaining personal hygiene but directly linked to complete wellness and health. With right dental care and good habits, you too can keep smiling through your golden days.

Dental Challenges as we Age

Advancing age puts older adults at risk to many oral health problems. The dental challenges can be caused by plaque, food left in teeth, tobacco products, poor diets, poor-fitting bridges and dentures, or diseases like anaemia, diabetes, and cancer. Below is the list of oral health problems:

Gum disease

The risk of gum disease rises as you get older. Gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss. Talk to your dentist when you experience toothaches or bleeding. Treatments can help.

Dry mouth

Dry mouth makes you vulnerable to health problems. Commonly caused by side effects from medications, dry mouth can be a result of cancer treatments or diseases such as Sjögren's syndrome. Because of dry mouth, less saliva is produced, which makes it easier for bacteria to damage the teeth and gums.

Uneven jawbone

Caused by loss of tooth and not replacing the space with other teeth. Open spaces allow the rest of the teeth to drift and shift, causing uneven jawbone.

Denture-induced stomatitis

Denture-induced stomatitis is inflammation of the tissue underlying the denture. Poor dental hygiene, ill-fitting dentures, or fungus buildup can cause this condition.

Thrush

Drugs or diseases that affect the immune system can also trigger an overgrowth of fungus.

Darkened teeth

It is caused by consuming stain-causing foods and beverages over the years or due to changes in dentine (bony tissue forming the bulk of a tooth). A darkened tooth can be a sign of a more serious problem. Talk to your dentist if you have darkened teeth.

Decreased sense of taste

While advancing age impairs the sense of taste, medications, diseases, and dentures can also contribute to it.

Root decay

Root decay is caused by exposure of tooth root to decay-causing acids. As gum tissue recedes, tooth root gets exposed.

Oral Hygiene Tips for Seniors

Brushing and flossing of teeth after meals or at least twice a day positively impacts your oral health. Plaque can quickly build up on your teeth if oral hygiene is neglected. This leads to tooth decay and gum disease.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride-containing toothpaste. An electric toothbrush is easy to use and effective at removing plaque.
  • Floss your teeth once a day. Use floss or an interdental cleaner to clean between your teeth.
  • Drink tap water. Most tap water contains fluoride that helps prevent tooth decay.
  • Quit smoking. It increases problems related to gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Your diet should include dairy and high-fiber foods.
  • Rinse your mouth once or twice a day. Use an antiseptic mouthwash to rinse your mouth.
  • Clean your dentures. Whether you are using full or partial dentures, clean them daily. Take dentures out of your mouth for at least four hours every day; remove them at night.
  • Visit your dentist. Visit a dentist regularly for cleaning and oral exam.

 

Keeping daily dental hygiene can be tricky if you have dexterity, mobility, or vision challenges. Also, when you have medical or behavioural conditions, dental care can be harder to access. Your dentist can help you with new ways to take care of your oral health.

Regularly visit your dentist even if you do not have your natural teeth anymore. He/she can check for problems with your gums, tongue, and jaw and screen you for oral cancer symptoms.

A healthy smile looks good at any age. Follow good hygiene habits, visit a dentist regularly, and keep making changes to your routine as your body changes to keep a great smile for life. And remember that good dental habits are essential for good health.

 

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