Growing old is not always desirable, but we know it is inevitable. How well are you caring for your aging body? The steps you took (or didn’t take) to care for your body as a teenager or young adult may be quite different as a senior adult. Just like your body, the health of your mouth may also demand some adjustments in care. In fact, your oral hygiene efforts may even need to change a bit to accommodate for the specific needs of your aging smile.
To maintain your body health and even boost your quality of life, pay attention to the following important geriatric dental care tips:
#1 Visit the Dentist
Kids aren’t the only ones who need to go to dental checkups every six months. Regular visits to your dentist as a senior adult can be crucial in detecting minor problems before they become a major health threat. As an aging adult, you may not recover from gum disease or other dental issues as quickly as you did in your earlier years.
#2 Brush Daily
By now, you should have established brushing habits that include two sessions per day. If you are losing dexterity or coordination, consider trading in your manual toothbrush for an electric version. Brushing in between meals is also an excellent idea and may be more feasible in your retirement years.
#3 Don’t Skip Flossing
Flossing is a key step in your oral hygiene routine if you want to keep cavities and gum disease away. If you have bridges or other dental work in your mouth, flossing may be more of a challenge, but it is equally important. Water flossers and special interdental brushes can be especially beneficial for senior patients.
#4 Consider Calcium Supplements
Calcium is an important mineral for aging smiles, but one that many seniors neglect to get enough of. Keep in mind that calcium keeps your bones strong as you age, and this includes your jaw bone that supports your teeth.
#5 Take Care of Your Dentures, Mouthguard and Oral Appliances
Very often, elderly dental care includes dentures. It is important that you follow your dentist’s instructions for caring for your prosthetic teeth. If you have removable dentures or a nighttime mouthguard to treat sleep apnea, make sure to see your dentist if your appliance is not fitting well or becomes damaged.
#6 Hydrate Often
It is not uncommon for senior adults to suffer from dry mouth. It is a side effect of many prescription medications and saliva production tends to decrease as we age. Try to drink adequate amounts of water throughout the day to combat dry mouth, and discuss any lingering xerostomia problems with your dentist if necessary.
Need a dentist who caters to aging adults? Dr. Tejal Kakade is a caring and talented geriatric dentist who would love to serve you in Carrollton.