- Losing your teeth is not inevitable
- Seeing the dentist becomes increasingly important as we age
- Those with dentures must wash them daily
- It’s never too late to restore your smile
With countless of health concerns among the elderly, it’s easy to forget about oral care. It is, however, imperative to maintain a proper dental hygiene routine to avoid other illnesses related to gum disease and tooth decay.
Senior citizens face more challenges when it comes to daily habits needed to fight mouth diseases, and neglecting the oral cavity can result catastrophic. Losing your teeth is not inevitable, and we would love to offer our help so you can keep your original teeth for life.
Dental Tips for the Elderly
- Stop smoking cigarettes! We can´t stress this one enough. The youth should quit smoking as well, but it is of vast importance that people over the age of 65 leave this habit. Not only does smoking cigarettes cause lung cancer, but it will also leave you in greater danger of developing mouth cancer, gum disease, and tooth decay.
- Brush your teeth! As obvious as this may sound, many people don´t do it the right way. Make sure your toothbrush has soft bristles since harder bristles can wear the enamel. You must brush for two minutes, twice a day – as soon as you wake up and right before bed. Those with arthritis – and everyone else for that matter – will benefit greatly from a battery-operated toothbrush.
- Floss! Flossing is not time-consuming (3 minutes), but not many know how to do it. You should floss once a day, preferably before bed, to help you remove excess food stuck between your teeth.
- See your dentist! As we age, seeing the dentist becomes increasingly important. At least to those who plan on keeping their teeth throughout the golden years. Visit your dentist for regular cleanings and check-ups at least twice a year. Make sure to take a list of the medications you’re taking so your dentist can tell you how each one affects your oral health.
How Medications Affect Your Teeth
Maintaining a day-to-day routine of dental care will help you keep your natural teeth, dentures, or implants intact for a long, long time. Despite your best efforts, though, some things may be out of your control – the medications you’re taking can hurt your teeth in the long run.
Hundreds of prescription drugs for anxiety, high blood pressure, depression, high cholesterol, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease cause dry mouth. This side-effect can bring about cavities, which is why it’s a must that you tell your dentist which meds you’re taking.
Your dentist will be able to recommend an action plan to relieve your dryness of the mouth. For now, implement the following tips into your daily routine to reduce the odds of developing gum disease caused by dry mouth.
- Drink more water! Carry a reusable plastic bottle or flask everywhere you go and make sure to stay consistently hydrated. It’s not necessary to wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Stay ahead of dry mouth by drinking eight or more bottles a day.
- Drink less coffee! We all love coffee, but you must reduce your daily intake if you have dry mouth symptoms. Non-alcoholic beverages like juices and soda, as well as alcoholic drinks, must also be avoided.
- Lozenge! Chew sugar-free mints and sugar-free gum to produce more saliva. Emphasis on sugar-free! You don’t want to end up with cavities.
- See your doctor! Sometimes it will be necessary to visit your primary care physician to inform them of your dry mouth symptoms. He or she will give you further instructions on what to do, which will either be changing the dosage or the entire medication.
Over-the-counter moisturizers for the mouth will also work but make sure to consult your dentist before making it a part of your plan to combat dry mouth. Your dentist might be able to apply a varnish or gel to defend your teeth against cavities.
Visiting Your Dentist
When you do get to your dentist’s office for your semi-annual check-up, it’s critical you inform them of any heart disease you may have. Some conditions carry a high risk of infection if you don’t take an antibiotic before dental treatment.
Dentists adhere to suggestions promoted by the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in collaboration with the American Dental Association. Speak with your doctor or dental specialist regarding these suggestions and how they pertain to you.
Those who have full or partial dentures must wash them every day. You should also remove your dentures from your mouth four hours each day, and it’s beneficial to do so at night.
If you’re a caretaker of an elderly individual who wears dentures and you notice they’ve been eating less or not as often, they might be having problems with their dentures. It’s key to look out for telltale signs of denture problems, which you’ll find by monitoring eating habits carefully.
It’s never too late to restore your smile in a way that will change your life for the better. If your removable dentures are ill-fitting or not comfortable, you might need to undergo a dental implants procedure.
Dental implant surgery can be expensive, but we offer an affordable solution just minutes away from San Diego, California. Here in Tijuana, Mexico, at Trust Dental Care, our U.S. trained dentists will take care of all your dental needs while providing warm and pleasing customer service.
We understand you might be on a fixed income and that even the greatest available dental options in the United States can be outrageously pricey. That’s why we offer affordable alternatives without sacrificing quality, since our chief doctor, Dr. Cirenia Aparicio Miranda, is the only dentist in all of Latin America to form part of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.