Taking good care of your teeth, mouth and gums is a life long process. Although the basic steps remain the same, it’s important to understand how your dental health may change as you get older.
As an adult ages there are the obvious physical changes, but there can also be changes in your mouth that are not so obvious. Below are 3 common challenges in older adults and tips for maintaining optimal oral health.
Dry Mouth. Saliva keeps your gums and tongue wet, helping to ward off cavities and control bacteria in the mouth. As we age, saliva production doesn’t naturally decrease, but a combination of medications and overall health can cause a drier mouth.
To keep your saliva flowing make sure you drink plenty of water and monitor how medication impacts your mouth. If your mouth feels drier be sure to discuss this with your dentist. Often by adding a mouth rinse or chewing gum, patients will find a comfortable solution.
Overall Health. Medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, thyroid disorders or cancer to name a few can cause complications in your mouth. When you don’t feel your best you may be tempted to go to bed without brushing or skimp on the time spent. In a word, don’t!
When you brush and floss regularly you not only get to keep your own teeth, but also potentially some medical conditions can be avoided. Additionally, the presence of other chronic conditions requires diligent oral hygiene to help avoid further complications caused by poor dental health.
Gum Disease. When food is not properly cleaned from the mouth and teeth the bacteria produced can lead to decay, tooth loss and gum disease. In older adults, dexterity or eyesight can become a hindrance to brushing and flossing.
If this is the case with you or a loved one we recommend investing in an electronic toothbrush or water flosser. Using these helpful devices may provide a better cleaning solution, resulting in better oral health. They are easy to use and come in many styles. If you need help in choosing one we’ll be glad to assist you.
Have you noticed changes in your teeth or gums? Do you have questions about how your mouth health impacts the rest of your body? We can help! Call to schedule an appointment today.