Somethings don’t get better with age, and sadly our body begins to decline in health including our dental health if we don’t take measures to maintain its health. As we age, we are due for many doctor visits and preventative screenings, the same goes for our oral health. We want to ensure we are visiting our dentist for annual check-ups for preventative care and to get the necessary treatment we need.
We hear more about other medical prevention and healthcare than we do about dental care. It’s not to say one is more important than the other, on the contrary, they are both essential to the overall health of our body. Our dental health is care we should continue to seek as we age when there are more factors prone to affecting our oral health.
Factors Affecting Our Oral Health
Our health declines with age, but it doesn’t mean we are going to lose our teeth when we get old. That’s not the case; if we care for them, we can keep our natural teeth. However, there are some factors which make us prone to dental issues. These are just some of the few factors affecting us.
- Lack of nutrient – we can’t stress enough how our diet plays a role in our oral health, and even more so when we age. As kids, we ate nutritious food to promote our development and health, and as seniors, our body needs as much nutrition it can get since our bodies don’t absorb as it did especially calcium.
- Medications – a side effect from medications is dry mouth which reduces our saliva production. Our saliva is a critical part of our dental health that helps wash food particles and break down our food. When we have dry mouth, we lose that protection our teeth need to help break foods.
- Medical conditions – medical conditions are likely to affect our dental health such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, or cancer. In these cases, if you do have a medical condition, you want to be able to express them with your dentist to ensure dental measures are being taken care of to prevent dental issues from arising.
- Stress – stress is an environmental factor which affects us in many ways, if you clench your teeth or are a teeth grinder, then it may pose a problem to your teeth.
- Poor Hygiene – not taking the time to clean and floss your teeth does more damage even if you have dentures. Dentures as with our natural teeth need the time and care. Just because they are fake teeth does not mean they can’t be worn out. You want to ensure you visit your dentist for annual check-ups and to get advice on how to care for your dentures.
- Lack of dental coverage – dental insurance is not common benefits one has access to or can afford. Dental procedures are costly and are often the reason people don’t go to the dentist until more severe symptoms are present.
Dental health as a senior is as essential as it was when we were a child. We want to ensure we are continually getting preventative care to ensure the health of our teeth remains. Of course, there will be other issues which affect our oral health, however, with the help of our dentist we can come up with ways to treat and provide the dental care we need.
Caring For Our Oral Health
We want to be more precautious with our oral health as we are with the rest of our health. Some of the ways we can care for our teeth is through taking measures to promote our health. Being active in our oral health begins at home before we visit the dentist. You can start by (if you already don’t do them),
- Brush twice a day with a soft bristles brush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss daily.
- Clean dentures, if you have any, with cleaners explicitly made for dentures. We should take our dentures out of our mouth at least four hours during the night. Your dentist will provide you with instructions on how to maintain your dentures and when to wear them.
- Rinse your mouth with antiseptic mouthwash.
- Drink water with fluoride, most water systems add fluoride or check if bottled waters have fluoride in it.
- Visit your dentist for annual check-ups.
- Quit smoking; it’s not too late to start the process of quitting. Smoking can cause tooth decay and loss, and gum disease.
- Limit the alcohol intake due to the acidity.
- Speak with your primary doctor about medications causing you dry mouth and ways to control other medical conditions that might affect your oral health.
- Speak with a senior caregiver on how they can assist you in brushing your teeth if you can’t perform it independently.
- Eating a balanced diet with nutrients your body needs especially foods with calcium.
Eliminating or controlling some of the factors affecting our oral health can help improve our dental hygiene and health. Through our dental visits, our dentist can detect early signs of dental problems to treat before further complications. However, as we mentioned before, not many have access to dental benefits which can be a reason for not seeing a dentist. If you do have dental benefits know how you can make the most of your benefits before of the end of the year, and if you don’t have any call your dental office and ask if they have any promotions, in-house payments, or what are your options are.
Consulting With Your Dentist
If you are a senior who’s experiencing some tooth symptoms, make an appointment with your dentist to discuss your dental health. Our dentist can help detect any early stages of dental problems and providing us with information on how to better care for our teeth as we age. Don’ wait to see your dentist.
For more information on Dental Health for seniors, check out Adults Over 60 from Mouth Healthy