Oral health is a lifelong process. While we all know that brushing daily is important, for seniors, there are specific concerns and issues that arise with increased age. Here are five tips to help you maintain a healthy smile throughout your golden years.
1. Chew Smart
Dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications and cancer treatments. Unfortunately, this means that dry mouth often affects seniors, who tend to be on more medication as they age.
Dry mouth is caused by a reduction in saliva flow; to combat this occurrence, most people will chew gum or candies. However, sugar can actually harm your oral health by feeding bacteria in your mouth. Bacteria growth can lead to much more serious dental problems including gum disease, so dentists recommend patients chew sugarless gum and candy.
2. Go Electric
Arthritis and poor eyesight can make your daily oral health routine a hassle and a challenge. One simple way to make your life easier is to invest in an electric toothbrush. Where gripping and brushing movements can exacerbate your arthritic pain, having an automated toothbrush can make a big difference in improving your routine while still effectively brushing your teeth.
3. Eat Right
Your diet affects more than just your waistline. To promote a healthy mouth and teeth, continue to focus on eating right. Avoid foods and drinks that are high in sugar, because these contribute to oral disease and tooth decay. Instead, focus on eating foods like sugar-free yogurt, fruits and vegetables like apples and celery, and of course, your daily servings of calcium in milk and cheese. These all serve to combat natural enemies to your oral health, like bacteria and inflammation, and promote strong and healthy teeth.
4. Floss Daily
Flossing is a vital component of your regular dental care routine. In fact, experts say that if you had to choose between brushing and flossing, flossing is the more effective habit. That is because floss is able to reach places between your teeth that a brush simply can’t.
Effective flossing will not only remove food particles from that corn on the cob you ate for dinner, but will also combat tartar and plaque buildup, which can lead to gingivitis and more serious gum diseases. Moreover, studies show that regular flossing also prevents the development of other diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory illness.
5. Visit Your Dentist
Finally, regular scheduled checkups with the dentist are necessary for continued optimal oral health. No matter what age, it is important to visit with your dentist as often as he/she recommends to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy. In addition to a routine cleaning, your dentist can also advice you on other issues related to senior care, such as dentures maintenance, prescription side effects, and teeth sensitivity.
This guest post is brought to you by Drew Kobb. In addition to studying civil law, Drew loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His blog, Dr. Ouch, covers a range of topics in the medical field, from dentists in Ottawa to women’s health issues.