The teeth are not immune to the aging process. The aging process can leave the teeth weakened, worn, and damaged, making proper dental care essential for seniors. Seniors can enjoy good oral health and protect the beauty and function of their teeth by seeking dental treatment and practicing good oral hygiene habits at home. General dentistry treatments are an important component to maintaining a healthy smile at every age. For more information about dental care for seniors, schedule a consultation with Chicago, IL dentist Margaret Mitchell. In the meantime, practice these dental care tips to help maintain a healthy, happy smile.
The Importance of Dental Care for Seniors
The teeth age along with the rest of the body, putting seniors at increased risk of dental damage. Seniors may also experience dental problems as a result of long-term dental neglect. In other cases, general health issues, like diabetes and gastrointestinal problems, can increase the risk of gum disease and tooth erosion, respectively. It's not uncommon for seniors to experience tooth loss as a result of dental damage, gum disease, or general wear. For all of these reasons and more, practicing proper dental care is particularly important for seniors.
Dental Care Tips for Seniors
Proper dental care can help prevent many oral health problems that are common among seniors, like gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss. Practice these dental care tips to keep your smile at its best for years to come.
- Brush and floss: Brushing and flossing regularly greatly reduces the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. The teeth should be brushed at least twice a day and flossed once a day. When brushing, it's important to brush for a full two minutes and cover all surfaces of the teeth, paying particular attention to hard to reach back teeth and gum line. When flossing, sweep the floss up and down each side of each tooth and as far along the gum line as possible to ensure a thorough clean.
- Use an antiseptic mouthwash: Rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash after brushing and flossing helps further decrease the risk of gum disease by eliminating bacteria left behind by brushing and flossing alone.
- Schedule regular checkups and seek treatment early: Regular dental checkups and cleanings are essential for protecting oral health and preventing serious dental problems. Seeking treatment at the first indications of an oral health issue, such as increased tooth sensitivity, pain, or bleeding gums, is another good way to prevent serious damage and protect the smile.
- Patients that wear dentures still need to practice dental care: Seniors who wear full dentures or partial dentures need to continue to practice good oral hygiene habits. The gums, and any remaining teeth, should be brushed regularly to prevent gum infections, like oral thrush. Dentures should also be cleaned daily using a denture cleaner, not toothpaste, to reduce bacteria in the mouth along with bad breath.
Receive Your Personalized Treatment Plan
To learn more about dental care for seniors and to discuss your treatment options, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mitchell.