Aging and Teeth: Senior Dental Hygiene Practices
As our bodies age, we know we’ll have lots of very natural physical challenges, and that includes changes in our teeth and mouth. Those changes can be unsettling – even frightening – and day-to-day dental hygiene can become difficult. But if these new challenges are met head-on, there’s no reason seniors can’t keep gums and teeth healthy well into their later years!
As you grow older, make it a point to stay aware of the new dental challenges you face and you’ll be much happier with your dental health – and with life in general!
Senior Dental Hygiene and the Day-to-Day Challenges
Many common day-to-day changes seniors face in caring for their teeth fall into two categories: physical difficulties and medication side effects.
General physical lifestyle changes you experience as a senior may seem as though they are unrelated to dental care, but they can have a huge impact on your teeth. For example, if you develop arthritis, it may be more difficult for you to properly brush your teeth every day. If so, you may find it easier to use an electric toothbrush, which requires less precision and force. Similarly, you should consider using a water flosser if flossing has become difficult.
The side effects of some medications many people begin taking as seniors can cause dry mouth. This innocent-sounding condition can have serious consequences for dental health over time, because saliva is a major part of how your body keeps your teeth clean. A dry mouth is a perfect environment for germs to grow. You can manage this challenge by increasing your fluid intake and chewing sugarless gum to stimulate saliva production.
Dentures: Look and Feel Natural With Them
Many people, despite their best efforts and good dental habits over a lifetime, will find they have significant damage to their teeth as they age and may want to consider dentures to help them with eating and speaking.
Dentures come in a variety of forms, but all of them are designed to make your mouth look and feel normal after tooth loss. If you only have a few good teeth left, you may decide to pull them and go with full dentures. If you’ve only lost a tooth or two, you may not need a full set of dentures. Partial dentures can give you strong, natural-looking replacements that blend well with your other teeth. For convenience, you might consider implants with click-on dentures that don’t require adhesives.
Make Senior Dental Care a Priority!
Dental hygiene is important at any age, but the older you get the more important it is to practice good dental hygiene to keep your teeth and mouth healthy. Whether you’ve made it to a ripe old age with a full set of healthy teeth or you’ve needed a little bit of work along the way, your dentist can work with you as your partner to preserve your shining smile.
If you have any questions at all about changes to your dental care routine as you get older, or if you want to discuss a possible dental implants or dentures, give us a call at 978-486-8261. We’ll work with you to keep you on the road to healthy senior teeth!