As you age, the body undergoes changes from head to toe. Your teeth are not immune to these changes. Instead, the overall health from a lifetime of use will determine their condition. Regardless of your oral health, the basics still apply including maintenance, check-ups, and treatment. In addition, appliances such as dentures may now be a part of your dental life. Here are the most important tooth care tips for seniors.
The biggest components of any maintenance plan for senior tooth care are flossing and brushing. It is crucial that each exercise be done correctly. This pictorial example from CDA-ADC.ca shows details for both. This includes the number of times as well as the length of time spent doing them. Flossing should be done at least once per day after the last time you brush your teeth. When it is not done, one-third of your teeth miss the cleaning process as flossing reaches where a toothbrush cannot. Brush at least twice each day for a minimum of two minutes. Gentle, circular motion should be used on the gum line. The tools include a soft toothbrush with rounded ends, floss, and anti-bacterial mouth wash.
Visiting your dentist for annual check-ups is even more crucial as you age. This will correct issues early with treatment. The exams look for new concerns such as ill-fitting devices, broken teeth, gum disease, and cancer. This is also a good time to review medications that exacerbate conditions such as dry mouth, which naturally occurs as you age. Arthritis is a condition that may present problems for flossing and brushing. Discuss options to minimize their impact, such as a flossing tool or artificial saliva.
If problems are found during the exam, your dentist from Smith Family Dental or a clinic in your area will make a treatment plan recommendation. This may include replacing fillings and veneers or removing a cavity. The sooner the issue is resolved the less costly it will be. In addition, you will be saving the natural tooth. Most people do not realize that a cleaning is treatment. It removes plaque or tartar from the gum line, which will prevent disease, infection and tooth loss. This treatment should be done with each annual visit.
Partial or complete dentures, implants, and bridges are dental appliances. Dentures are removable, while implants and bridges are not. They all require extra care during daily maintenance. Each one should be viewed as real teeth that require cleaning and flossing. For dentures, soaking them in warm water or a solution will loosen plaque build-up for easier brushing.
As you can see, the dental regimen that took place during your lifetime is still mostly the plan. The only new component is dental appliances. Maintaining oral health with the proper tools and regular exams will keep your smile bright for years to come.