3 Ways to Improve the Oral Health of Older Adults

Dentist and old patient

It’s become a trope that as people get older, they start caring less about certain things. And that might be true. Age has brought them wisdom, and it’s very hard to surprise someone who’s seen and heard it all. But that only makes sense for intangible things. If you let your physical health fall by the wayside, especially at an advanced age, you end up hurting yourself and your loved ones.

Many seniors have neglected to maintain their oral health. Almost every primary system in the body is connected to your oral region, so it’s essential to keep your gums and teeth healthy and clean.

Recent advances in technology have made dental care better and more accessible. You can get anything you need, whether it’s new fixtures or lab results, from a digital dental lab faster and easier. But that doesn’t mean you should be complacent. Seniors are more susceptible to dental cavities and gum diseases, which could then affect other parts of their bodies.

1. Brush properly and regularly

This is a no-brainer. Regardless of age, the best way to keep your teeth and gums sparkling and healthy is to brush and floss twice a day. According to the American Dental Association, the toothpaste must contain fluoride for it to be effective. Anything else won’t be as good.

Colgate recommends that you should brush your teeth for two to three minutes using a soft-bristle toothbrush. Harder bristles strip away the enamel from your teeth. And without it, your teeth are more susceptible to decay.

You should also control the pressure of your brushing. Too hard, and you could hurt your gums, which can lead to bleeding and increased sensitivity. Too soft, and you could miss a few places where plaque might have formed. One technique to check your pressure is to brush using your non-dominant hand. If you’re right-handed, brush with your left hand and vice versa.

2. Steer clear of tobacco

If you smoke or consume tobacco regularly, you are twice as likely to develop gum disease compared to non-smokers. Many of us are already familiar with the adverse effects of tobacco use: heart disease, lung disease, cancer, vision problems, weakened immune system, just to name a few. And if you have a weakened immune system, you’ll find it more challenging to recover from a gum infection.

teeth3. Keep your mouth lubricated

Drinking water has so many benefits. But one thing that you should look out for is a dry mouth. As people get older, their salivary glands don’t produce as much saliva as they used to. It could also be a sign of a more severe condition. Keep yourself hydrated every time your mouth feels dry. If it persists, you have to consult a dentist just to be sure.

It’s easy to say that people should take good care of their teeth and gums. If you’re young and healthy, you can do things with little pain and effort. But seniors face many issues that could hinder their ability to maintain their oral hygiene. For instance, people with arthritis might find it difficult to brush their teeth. It’s essential to work with seniors to keep them healthy.

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