Older adults have unique dental needs and whether you yourself are a senior citizen or you have an elderly parent or relative you care for, it is important to know the dental needs of older adults. The objective of all people, regardless of age, should be to maintain a healthy mouth in order to avoid painful dental infections, tooth decay, or tooth loss leading to the need for dentures.
Times have thankfully changed and more and more Americans keep their own teeth for a lifetime and never need dentures. On their website www.ada.org the American Dental Association (ADA) tells us that “generations ago, most people lost their teeth by middle age.” The ADA credits “the benefits of fluoride, healthier lifestyles and professional dental care” as the reasons why more people are able to keep their own teeth for a lifetime.
Our goal today should be to keep our own teeth for a lifetime. Dentures are really not as desirable as having your own natural teeth. The ADA reports that there is “a vital connection between a healthy body and a healthy mouth.” There are things you can do to ensure that you will be able to keep your teeth healthy for a lifetime.
Maybe you haven’t always kept your oral health at the top of your priority list throughout your life and you think it’s too late to make a difference now. This is simply not true! The ADA urges that “you can take control of your oral health” at any age and make a difference.
The ADA offers tips for older adults on how to properly take care of their teeth. The following tips are listed on their website www.ada.org:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush. The ADA advises that you may benefit from using an electric toothbrush if you have trouble moving your hands, arms or shoulders.
- Floss daily.
- Replace your toothbrush every three or four months because a worn toothbrush will not clean your teeth well.
- If you wear dentures clean them on a daily basis because bacteria stick to your dentures.
- Take your dentures out for at least four hours every day.
- Use denture cleaning products like denture cleansers and overnight soaking solutions to keep your dentures fresh and clean.
- Quit smoking if you do because smoking increases problems with gum disease, tooth decay and tooth loss. Smoking also affects healing after dental procedures.
If you are experiencing any bleeding in your mouth when you brush or floss, this is not normal and needs to be treated by a dentist as soon as possible. The ADA cautions that “bleeding gums, visible root surfaces and loose teeth are not normal at any age” and are “usually signs of an infection called periodontal (gum) disease.”
It is so very important to visit a dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. If you don’t have a dentist, you can visit www.ada.org to find a dentist in your area who is a member of the American Dental Association. During your checkup, it is important to tell your dentist about any medications you take and any health problems or allergies you have.
Bright Side Dental is a dental group with locations in Sterling Heights, Livonia, Canton, and Royal Oak, Michigan. Visit www.BrightSideDental.com.