Although people of all ages should take good care of their teeth and gums, it is especially important for seniors to be diligent about their oral health. A number of common health conditions among the elderly, including dry mouth and diabetes, can make them more susceptible to dental health problems. Here are five dental care tips for seniors:
Get an Electric Toothbrush
If you are one of the many seniors who suffer from arthritis, brushing your teeth thoroughly can be a challenge. Moving the toothbrush around for two minutes can make your fingers and hands hurt. A simple solution to this problem is purchase an electric toothbrush. This type of toothbrush does most of the work for you, so you won't have to use your hands and fingers as much.
Manage Dry Mouth
Some of the medications you take may cause dry mouth, which can make your teeth more susceptible to cavities. You can manage dry mouth by drinking water regularly, limiting caffeine and chewing sugar free gum. You can also try taking over-the-counter saliva substitutes.
Limit Simple Carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates, such as white bread and donuts, may be easier to chew, but they are not exactly the best for your teeth. All the sugars in these types of foods can eat away at your enamel. To keep your pearly whites healthy, eat tooth-friendly foods like apples, cheese, celery and carrots.
Get Regular Oral Cancer Screenings
Because oral cancer is more common among the elderly, it is vital to get regular screenings. When you go in for your dental checkups every six months, make sure your dentist checks for oral cancer. The sooner this disease is found, the easier it is to treat.
Don't Forget to Clean Your Dentures
If you have full or partial dentures, you must remember to clean them on a daily basis. They may not be real teeth, but they can still accumulate bacteria, which can transfer to your gums. Just gently brush them with a soft-bristle brush specifically designed for dentures. It is also a good idea to soak your dentures in denture solution overnight.
If you follow these helpful tips, you can maintain healthy teeth and gums during your golden years. If you detect notice any oral health issues, such as inflamed gums or sore teeth, you should see a dentist (such as one from Dental Care by Spring Dental) as soon as possible. Waiting too long will just make the problem worse.