Dental Tips for Seniors

April 27, 2016

Caring for your teeth isn’t just about having a good smile. Your dental health can affect more than just your pearly whites, so it’s especially important for seniors to take care of their teeth. Here are some dental hygiene tips to keep you smiling for years to come:

Clean Dental Implants

According to Seniors Oral Health, 75 percent of seniors who are 60 years old and above do not have their entire set of natural teeth. You are not alone if you have dental implants, crowns, dentures, or other artificial teeth! Taking care of your latest smile accessories is very important to ensure they last long. Implants and dentures are made from different materials than your teeth, so they may require more maintenance than your regular brushing.

Be sure to listen to your dentist when explaining proper care tips, like soaking dentures in a cleaning solution overnight or removing a retainer with a false tooth attached before eating. Also, bring a carrying case with you so you don’t accidentally toss them during lunch!

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prescriptions, doctor, patient, seniosYour doctor may change your prescriptions if they are causing an uncomfortable dry mouth.

 

Talk to Your Doctor About Prescriptions

Many seniors complain of dry mouth. This occurs when the saliva glands no longer produce ample amounts of spit to lubricate the mouth. Not only can this harm your teeth, but it’s also bad for your digestion as well. You may be taking some medications that are prone to causing dry mouth, so talk to your doctor if you think you’re experiencing this side effect.

Follow a Regular Oral Hygiene Routine

It’s normal to forget to brush occasionally because you’re busy or too tired. However, if this becomes a habit, you neglect your dental health and may be at risk for gum disease and tooth decay. Add tooth care to your morning and nightly routine so you remember to brush and floss. Doing the same thing every day will make you more likely to remember.

Use Assistive Tools

Arthritis is a major problem for many seniors. This painful chronic condition can make something as seemingly simple as flossing become an achy ordeal. Thankfully, there are many dental tools that can make your hygiene practices easier on your hands and wrists. Instead of rolling through a floss container, opt for toothpicks with a toothbrush-like handle with a small wiry end for getting between teeth. Or, use a flosser that holds the string in place for you so you’re not struggling with your fingers.

As for toothbrushes, opt for versions with thicker, rubbery grips. This makes them easier to hold than the thin plastic varieties. Also, look for toothbrushes with soft bristles so you don’t damage your gums with too-hard bristles. Some seniors find their teeth grow more and more sensitive to temperature as they age. If this sounds familiar, consider using all-natural toothpaste or toothpaste made for sensitive teeth.

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