Taking good care of your teeth and gums is just as important when you’re 55 as it is when you’re 25. Letting cavities or gum disease go untreated will only cause you pain, and could even lead to infections that make problems like heart disease and arthritis worse. Here are a few tips on oral health care for seniors from the dental hygienists at 38th Modern Dental.
Seven Oral Health Care Tips for Seniors Age 55 and Up
Upgrade Your Toothbrush and Dental Floss
For seniors, daily oral hygiene is more important than ever. But if you have arthritis or other mobility issues, it can be difficult to brush and floss as well as you used to. You might want to consider upgrading to an electric toothbrush and a water flosser to make flossing and brushing easier.
Use a Toothpaste with Fluoride
Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel and protects them against cavities and decay. It’s especially important to use fluoride toothpaste if your gums are receding. Your teeth don’t have any enamel below the gum line, and receding gums expose the vulnerable roots of your teeth to decay. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste and using fluoride-enriched mouthwash will help protect the most sensitive parts of your teeth.
According to the CDC, 47% of adults over 30 and 70% of adults over 65 have some form of gum disease. The older you get, the more your risk of tooth loss from gum disease grows. But fighting gum disease can be as simple as using mouthwash after you floss and brush. The antimicrobial ingredients in mouthwash kill the bacteria that form plaque and infect your gums, so using mouthwash at least once a day will boost your defenses against gum disease.
Prevent Dry Mouth
Besides brushing and flossing, one of the best things you can do for your oral health is to stay hydrated. Dry mouth is a side effect of many common medications, and it can have disastrous effects on your teeth and gums. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, especially after meals, and rinse with an alcohol-free mouthwash after you brush your teeth.
Take Calcium Supplements
People over 55 have a much higher risk of osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bone tissue. Because your jawbones hold your teeth in place, it’s important to keep them strong in order to prevent tooth loss. Taking calcium supplements will help you build strong bones and strong teeth as well. If you can, take a calcium supplement that has magnesium in it, because magnesium helps your body absorb calcium.
Get Screened for Oral Cancer
Because it’s one of the deadliest forms of cancer, it’s important to catch oral cancer in its earliest stages. Regular dental checkups and oral cancer screenings are the best ways to spot the warning signs. If you smoke or used to smoke, habitually drink alcohol, or have a history of sun exposure, your risk of oral cancer is much higher. Some types of HPV can also increase the chances of developing oral cancer, so if you have any of these risk factors, get screened on a regular basis.
Never Miss a Dental Checkup
Spotting cavities and getting them filled right away will prevent a lot of pain and the need for more costly procedures later on. Even if you have dentures or implants, it’s still important to visit your dentist at least once every six months. Your dentist will check to make sure your dentures still fit correctly and verify that your implants are staying healthy. They can also remove plaque and tartar buildup on your implants and provide treatments for gum disease.
Dental Health Care for Seniors in Denver
At 38th Modern Dental, we provide comprehensive dental care for seniors in northwest Denver and nearby Wheat Ridge. Whether you need a filling, a root canal, periodontal care, or dental implants, we’ve got you covered. Call us today to schedule a checkup or request an appointment online.