Oral care is an important aspect of senior healthcare. Unfortunately, many seniors experience a decline in oral hygiene as they age. This is often because of mobility and memory issues, as well as tighter budgets in retirement. However, the cost of implants and fighting advanced gum disease can cost a lot more than regular dental check-ups and maintenance. This article will discuss oral health tips for seniors.
Brush and Floss Daily for Better Oral Health
Dentists recommend brushing twice daily and flossing at least once a day. This helps remove plaque, build gum strength, and keep your mouth healthier. It is generally recommended that you brush with fluoride toothpaste after breakfast and before bed. Flossing can be a challenge for seniors with mobility issues or arthritis. If you have trouble flossing, ask your dentist about potential alternatives.
See Your Dentist Regularly
Check-ups and cleanings from the dentist are vital to improving your overall oral health. Dental appointments are also important for identifying oral health issues before they become much more serious. What constitutes as “regular” dental appointments can vary from person to person. Your dentist can help you create an appointment schedule that fits your needs and budget. However, because basic medicare doesn’t cover most dental care, you may need to consider getting private dental insurance.
Dry Mouth and Oral Health
Dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications and can be detrimental to your oral health. Generally, saliva washes away bacteria and reduces infection. Dry mouth can make eating, talking, and swallowing harder, as well. In addition to medication, chemotherapy and radiation treatments can lead to dry mouth. Certain chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, can also reduce saliva production. If you are suffering from dry mouth, talk with your dentist about what you can do to remedy it.
Look for Changes in your Mouth Health
Your risk of developing oral health issues increases with age. This can include gum disease, tooth loss, infections, and even oral cancer. See a doctor or dentist if you are experiencing any of these symptoms for 2 or more weeks:
- A lump or thick area in your mouth, lip, or throat
- An abnormal white or red patch in your mouth
- Trouble moving your tongue or jaw
- Issues with swallowing or chewing
- Numbness in your mouth or tongue
- Pain in an ear without hearing loss
- Swelling of the jaw
These symptoms are common indicators of more serious health issues. Your doctor or dentist can help you identify the issue and begin treatment.
Healthy Habits for Better Oral Care
In addition to the aforementioned brushing and flossing, there are a number of ways that you can improve your overall oral health by making life changes. Eating healthy and reducing sugar intake is a great place to start. Smoking or chewing tobacco can increase your risk of oral cancer and tooth decay. Heavy alcohol consumption can also increase the risk of oral cancer.
Safe Harbor Healthcare Services does not provide medical, healthcare, or financial advice via articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for medical advice.
Safe Harbor Healthcare Services has been providing excellent home care on Staten Island since 1967. Our services help the elderly and disabled live safely and independently; while giving their families the peace of mind they need. For more information contact us by clicking here, or by calling (718)-979-6900.