It’s not uncommon to face new Senior Dental Care Checklist health challenges as you age, and oral health is no exception. The good news is that keeping your teeth and gums looking and feeling their best long into your golden years is possible with proper care and attention.
The following senior dental care habits aren’t difficult and can help preserve your healthy smile for a lifetime.
Easy Tips for Improved Senior Dental Care
- Maintain regular visits with your dentist.Don’t put off visits to the dentist until you experience pain or discomfort. Instead, scheduling appointments for regular checkups every six months is one of the best ways to keep your teeth healthy as you age.
A routine exam can save you from a number of dental problems, excruciating pain, and costly procedures down the road. Always inform your dentist about your current health status and medications so that he/she can provide optimal service and treatment.
- Modify your oral hygiene habits.The importance of proper oral hygiene doesn’t diminish over time. Older adults should continue to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to prevent the development of cavities and gum disease. Unfortunately, many seniors experience dexterity problems due to arthritis or other conditions, which make proper brushing and flossing difficult.
To make oral hygiene easier when mobility is limited, seniors should consider attaching their toothbrush to a larger object such as a ball, or purchasing an electric toothbrush in place of a manual. Simple modifications can improve mobility and make cleaning your mouth easier and more comfortable.
- Replace missing teeth.Tooth loss can lead to far more serious consequences than an altered appearance and poor self-esteem. In fact, missing teeth can cause many issues, including difficulty chewing and speaking; shifting of adjacent teeth; jaw pain; and increased risk of decay and gum disease.
For these reasons, seniors should have missing teeth replaced as soon as possible to restore optimal function and health. Today, dentists can provide a variety of natural looking solutions to remedy tooth loss, including dental implants, bridges and dentures.
- Commit to a healthy lifestyle.Finally, making positive lifestyle choices can go a long way to improve overall health as you age. This may include giving up bad habits that contribute to oral health problems, such as smoking, and eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet to promote a healthy mouth and body.
Reasons to Visit Your Dentist and Orthodontist
Seniors face an increased risk for oral health problems. For this reason, it is important that you notify your dentist of any unusual symptoms right away to prevent serious complications and further damage. Common problems to watch for include:
- Chronic dry mouth
- Cavities and decay
- Discolored teeth
- Oral cancer
- Red, swollen and tender gums
- Tooth sensitivity and pain
Successful management of teeth and gums can help seniors avoid a number of health issues, while also increasing quality of life. With good dental habits, regular preventive checkups with your dentist and orthodontist, and healthy lifestyle changes, you can avoid many painful issues with your mouth and maintain a healthy smile for a lifetime.
If you have additional questions as they pertain to seniors and you live in the Charlotte area, contact Burrow & Welchel Orthodontics.
Dr. Sam BurrowDr Sam Burrow D.D.S., D.M.D. – Dr. Burrow was born in Charlotte and moved to Charleston to obtain a Bachelors of Science in Biology at the College of Charleston. He graduated magna cum laude and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, and then stayed to earn a D.M.D. with honors at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Burrow completed his orthodontic residency at University of Detroit Mercy in Michigan and is now in practice with his father at Burrow Orthodontics in the Charlotte area.