Dental Care Tips for Seniors

smiling patient in a dental clinic

By the time we reach our golden years, our teeth have had to work exceptionally hard for quite a long time. Inevitably, some signs of wear and tear are already starting to show. Perhaps you have had numerous dental restorations, such as cavity fillings or bridges. You may have needed root canal surgery or have had dentures or one or more dental implants. Whatever dental work you may have had previously, there is no denying that you need to give the health of your teeth and mouth a little more attention than before.

Maintaining good oral health is just as important when you are older. In fact, as we age we are more likely to suffer from dental health problems including cavities and increased levels of plaque. One of the main reasons for this is the side effects of medications we may be taking. It goes without saying that our body comes under strain as we age, and many parts may not function as they used to. Reliance on medication is much more common, and with those medications comes a whole range of side effects, some of which make dental problems more likely. For example, dry mouth. Dry mouth is a listed side effect in more than 500 different drugs that causes a decrease in the production of saliva, our bodies’ natural defence against tooth decay.

To help you maintain your natural teeth and oral health for the foreseeable future, here are our top dental care tips for seniors.

Use an electric toothbrush

Our manual dexterity skills can decrease as we get older, particularly if we start to suffer from problems such as arthritis of the hands. This can make brushing our teeth properly a tricky task. However, an electric toothbrush takes care of all of the up and down and circular motions needed to clean your teeth properly, making the process much easier. You can even buy electric toothbrushes that have built-in timers, ensuring that you still brush for the recommended two minutes every time.

Use mouthwash

Mouthwash is an additional line of defence against dental decay and disease. We recommend that you choose one that is alcohol-free as this can make dry mouth worse. One rinse with mouthwash just before you go to bed is optimal use for seniors.

Drink plenty of water

We simply cannot overstate the benefits of drinking plenty of water. Not only will it help keep your body well hydrated, but water that contains fluoride will strengthen your teeth and help protect them from cavities. Drinking water also helps counter the effects of dry mouth, and rinses bacteria from your mouth every time you have some.

Quit smoking

If you have reached your senior years and are still smoking, it really is about time that you stopped! We all know that smoking is serious bad news for your general health, but it is also a factor in the development of many dental issues such as periodontal disease, receding gums and even oral cancer.

Take care of your dentures

Dentures are the premier solution for replacing multiple missing teeth. Although your dentures cannot decay, it is still very important to take good care of them. Dentures must be cleaned daily using special denture cleaning pastes and solutions. This will help ensure that all bacteria are removed and will help prevent them from staining, ensuring that they look as attractive as possible. Don’t forget to soak them in denture solution overnight to prevent them from drying out.

Visit our dentist regularly

Our dentist may ask you to visit a little more regularly now you are older, as this will help him/her monitor your dental health a little more closely. Doing so could enable early identification and treatment of developing dental problems, before they become painful and expensive. Our dentist has the training and experience necessary to keep you in good dental health for as long as possible, so don’t be afraid to put your teeth in their hands! Contact us today for further advice.