Oral Health Care for Seniors

August 16, 2019

elderly woman smilingThere are many changes that happen when we hit retirement age, and those changes include our smiles. According to Senior Living more than 30% of older adults have untreated cavities, and almost 25% of adults between 65 and 74 have gum disease.

Despite that, the gold standard of oral health care for seniors is the same as it is for everyone else–floss daily, brush twice daily, and visit the dentist every 6 months. Keep in mind that as we get older, the nerves in our mouths get smaller, making it even harder to detect cavities. That makes those biyearly checkups especially paramount.

Caring for Dentures

If you want to keep your teeth, you need to take care of them for the rest of your life. Even though tooth loss isn’t an inevitability, dentures are a reality for many seniors. In fact, 30% of older adults have no remaining teeth. However, if you lose your teeth, you can still live a normal life.

Dentures are a durable and affordable option for many seniors. Just like natural teeth, they require special care. But don’t worry, taking care of them isn’t so bad! To keep your dentures in shape, make sure you do these 7 things.

7 Steps for Taking Proper Care of Your Dentures

  1. Remove and rinse dentures after eating. Make sure that all loose food particles are gone.
  2. Clean your mouth and gums once a day with a soft bristle toothbrush or gauze. Make sure you get your tongue, cheeks, and the roof of your mouth.
  3. Brush your dentures at least once a day. Make sure you get in the grooves, removing any adhesives.
  4. When you handle your dentures, be careful. They could break or bend if you drop them. It’s also a good idea to be mindful of the clasps, and make sure you don’t bend the plastic while cleaning.
  5. Keep your dentures moist overnight. If they dry out, they could lose their shape. You can soak them in a glass of water, or in a mild denture solution.
  6. In the morning, be sure to thoroughly rinse your dentures before reinserting, especially if you used a soaking solution. Denture cleaners aren’t safe to put in your mouth.
  7. Just like with natural teeth, it’s important to see the dentist every 6 months for a checkup. As we age, our mouths continue to change, so you may need a new set of dentures. If you notice the fit of your dentures loosening, it’s a good idea to schedule another dental appointment.

What Not to Do with Your Dentures

Dentures are durable, but they aren’t indestructible! There are certain things that are best avoided. Make sure you don’t use stiff-bristled brushes, harsh cleaners, whitening toothpastes, or bleach-containing products. When you soak and rinse your dentures, don’t use very hot or boiling water, as it could warp your dentures.

Remember, if your dentures feel loose, call the dentist for a checkup!