Proper tooth care is important for every age, especially seniors, according Colgate.com. Lacking dental insurance or mobility for appointments, some seniors may neglect their oral health, which can cause health complications. The risk of tooth loss, gum disease, heart disease, and diabetes increases when oral health is ignored.
The Academy of General Dentistry reports that severe gum disease affects 25 percent of adults between the ages of 65 and 74 years old. When left untreated, it can progress from gingivitis, which is gum inflammation, to the more serious periodontitis, which is inflammation of the bone around the teeth.
Taking certain medications or requiring medical treatments such as chemotherapy can decrease saliva production, resulting in the condition of dry mouth, which causes tooth and root decay. Saliva helps neutralize the bacteria and acids that can damage teeth. Tips to increase saliva production include chewing sugarless gum, sucking on sugarless hard candy, or using a saliva “wetting” product.
To maintain good dental hygiene, Colgate recommends: “Maintain regular dental visits.
Even if you wear dentures, getting gums checked is still important. Brush twice daily with a soft brush, and use toothpaste containing fluoride.
“If arthritis limits your ability to brush, ask your dentist about special dental aids that make brushing easier.
“After you brush, always floss (using floss holders if necessary). Cleaning between your teeth insures healthy gums and teeth. Monitor your sugar intake from candy and soda, and watch out for starch-filled snacks (which can turn into sugar). Brush shortly after snacking. Don’t use tobacco, and drink fluoridated water.”
The American Dental Association advises other good dental health practices for seniors, including consuming 1,000 milligrams daily of calcium from low-fat dairy products to prevent osteoporosis, which can affect the bone surrounding the teeth.
For more information, contact:
Clarendale of Algonquin
2001 West Algonquin Road
Algonquin, IL 60102