MORE AND MORE PEOPLE are keeping their original teeth well into their old age. It’s fantastic! However, it’s really important to understand the special attention needed to maintain a healthy smile when you’re 60+ years of age. Whether you fall in that category, or you care for someone who is elderly, there are a few things below that we want to be sure our senior patients know.
Dry Mouth Can Increase Cavity And Gum Disease Risks
Dry mouth (xerostomia) affects many seniors. Lower saliva flow is often a function of aging. In addition, many medications can also cause dry mouth. Without the cleansing, pH balancing and remineralizing that saliva helps take care of, one’s oral health isn’t as protected as it could be.
Treat dry mouth by occasionally sucking on a sugarless mint or chewing sugarless gum to encourage saliva flow. Swishing water regularly can also help keep one’s mouth clean and better hydrated.
It’s True… An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure
Flossing Can Be More Important Than Ever
For some people over 60, their ability to fight infections like gingivitis isn’t as strong as it once was. Some studies show that unhealthy gums can leave the rest of the body vulnerable to other inflammatory diseases—including heart disease or stroke. Even Alzheimer’s and dementia have been potentially linked to this problem.
So please make sure that you’re flossing (or that the person you care for is flossing)—not just for one’s oral health, but also for one’s whole body health.
Special Tools Are Available To Help With Home Care
Many seniors find that impaired mobility makes the routine tasks of brushing and flossing really difficult. If you, or someone you love is in that position, please ask us about products like electric toothbrushes and floss piks that can make the job easier.
Keep Regular Checkup Appointments
Based on the risk factors mentioned above, it’s especially important for seniors to get regular, thorough cleanings and check-ups. When you visit, be sure to tell us about your medications, your brushing and flossing habits, and any medical conditions you’re experiencing. The more we know, the more we can help you continue to have great oral health over a lifetime.
Remember that great oral health isn’t just about teeth—it’s about whole body health!
We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment! By the way, do you already Like our Facebook page? If not, come say hello!