How can older people improve their oral care? It’s quite common for seniors to face various dental health issues as they get older due to medications, health conditions, or the aging process itself. This article explores the different dental challenges faced by seniors and how to navigate them.
- 1 Challenges Faced by Seniors:
- 2 Solutions for Maintaining Oral Health:
- 3 Schedule Your Next Checkup Today
Challenges Faced by Seniors:
As we age, our dental needs begin to change. The most common challenges seniors face include:
Reduced Dexterity and Mobility
Conditions such as arthritis can make it more difficult to brush teeth or handle floss. Due to the reduced ability to manipulate objects in their hands, some seniors may begin to go lax on their dental hygiene simply because taking care of their teeth becomes a burden.
Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
Dry mouth can happen for various reasons. As we age, we naturally produce less saliva. Additionally, certain medications can cause dry mouth. Individuals with dry mouth are more susceptible to gum irritation and dental diseases, which is why proper dental care is important.
Receding gum lines and worn enamel are common causes of tooth sensitivity. Developing cavities that go untreated over the years can also expose the pulp of roots in our teeth. These factors become much more common as we age due to the wear our teeth endure.
Gum Disease and Receding Gums
Gum disease and receding gums are common challenges that can present themselves despite good dental hygiene and routine checkups. It’s important to diagnose and treat gum disease before it leads to more serious dental issues.
Solutions for Maintaining Oral Health:
There are ways to address senior dental health challenges so that individuals can maintain their healthy smiles and avoid chronic pain. Some of these solutions include the following:
Adapting Oral Care Tools
If you’re having difficulty manipulating small objects or suffer from tooth and gum sensitivity, there are oral health care tools available to help. You could select toothbrushes with soft bristles or larger handles or opt for an electric toothbrush. There are even floss holders available to make it easier to floss daily.
Managing Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is one of the most common complaints that seniors have. Ensure you’re drinking plenty of water and limiting the consumption of alcohol and caffeine. Chewing sugarless gum can also stimulate saliva secretion and help eliminate dry mouth.
Managing Tooth Sensitivity
Aside from selecting the right tools to treat tooth sensitivity, dentists often recommend toothpaste formulated to reduce sensitivity. Fluoride treatments and adjusting your diet can also help with sensitive teeth and gums.
Regular Dental Checkups
Seniors should visit their dentists at least twice a year to perform preventative care and address any issues that arise. Early detection of dental disease is proven to help provide the best outcomes. Make sure you’re not missing your regular checkups so you can maintain the best dental health possible.
In addition to discovering dental health problems, routine cleanings can eliminate plaque and tarter buildup so that you don’t end up with some of these more significant issues to begin with. One mistake many people make is waiting until they experience pain before seeking help.
Schedule Your Next Checkup Today
At Costello Family Dentistry, we want you to love your smile well into your senior years. Take the next step towards maintaining your oral health today. Contact us to schedule an appointment.