As you age, your risk for serious oral health problems increases. In fact, Americans over the age of 65 have a significantly higher chance of developing gum disease, losing a permanent tooth, or experiencing health problems related to adult tooth loss. However, these statistics don’t mean that seniors have to resign themselves to a lifetime of painful, unattractive teeth and gums. While age brings certain challenges to properly caring for your teeth, following these general dentistry tips will help seniors enjoy healthier, more attractive smiles throughout their golden years.
Find the Right Dental Hygiene Products for You
Many seniors cite physical difficulties as one of the main reasons they allow their dental hygiene to fall by the wayside. After all, limited mobility in the wrists and hands due to arthritis, carpal tunnel, or other impairments will make brushing and especially flossing very difficult. So, as you age, it’s good to keep in mind that the same toothbrush and floss you used in your 40s might not be the same ones that are right for you in your 60s or 70s.
Some senior-friendly dental care products include:
- Handheld water flossers
- Sonic or electric toothbrushes
- Toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth
- Alcohol-free multi-care mouthwash
Keep Dentures Clean and Moist
If you wear a denture or partial, keeping the gum plates clean is as important – if not more so – than keeping the teeth scrubbed. Denture plates are notorious for accumulating bacterial biofilms, which can lead to bad breath and sore or infected spots on the gum ridge. Recent studies show that MSRA (a drug-resistant type of staph infection) is often found lurking on dentures and can lead to serious lung infections. A healthier mouth and body depends on keeping your dentures clean via:
- Regular scrubbing using a special denture brush and cleaning paste
- Soaking your dentures in an antimicrobial solution (that contains chlorhexidine gluconate) available from your dentist
Your dentist can recommend the best products to keep your natural or artificial teeth clean, healthy, and functional