Have you lost a few of your teeth? Are you searching for dental tips for seniors? If that’s the case, you’re in for a treat. Don’t worry about paying for a pricey visit with your dentist. Below are all the tips you need to improve your smile and oral health at home, from toothpaste to dental floss.
Wear a mouthguard
If you have worn braces or have had orthodontic work done on your teeth, it’s important to wear a mouthguard as part of your treatment plan. This will prevent any damage to the newly aligned teeth. A mouth guard also protects against chipped or broken teeth, which is common after treatment. Mouthguards come in different types, including boil-and-bite and custom-made ones that fit over the upper and lower jaws separately.
Brush your tongue
Your tongue is a magnet for bacteria and other germs. Bacteria on the tongue can spread to other parts of the mouth and cause gum disease. Brushing your tongue helps to remove bacterial plaque and debris that can cause bad breath. It also allows you to see what your tongue looks like, which is important for detecting any abnormalities or signs of oral cancer.
If you have a sore or irritated mouth, brushing can be very painful. However, it’s still important to continue brushing because this will help prevent cavities and gum disease from developing. You may want to consider using a soft-bristled toothbrush or toothbrush with softer bristles if brushing causes any discomfort.
Don’t Forget Flossing
Flossing is one of the essential dental hygiene practices. It removes plaque from between your teeth where brushing cannot reach, helping prevent cavities and gum disease. If you have never flossed before, start slowly by just putting about 18 inches of floss between your fingers, pulling gently down on the sides of each tooth until you feel resistance, and then moving on to the next tooth.
When you don’t floss, food particles remain in between your teeth. When left there for too long, these particles can cause cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss. If you are unable to brush properly due to limited dexterity or mobility issues, then you must take extra precautions like using a specialized flosser to clean between your teeth.
Take care of your gums
Why should you Take care of your gums? The truth is that when you do not take care of your gums, problems can arise. Gum disease can cause tooth and bone loss, as well as heart problems. Those with gum disease also tend to have an increased risk of stroke as well as diabetes and heart disease.
Avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes
Alcohol-based mouthwashes have been found to be harmful to the oral tissues, causing irritation and causing the tissues to dry out. This can lead to more dental problems, such as gum disease and tooth decay. The alcohol also makes it easier for plaque and bacteria to stick to your teeth and gums.
If you still use alcohol-based mouthwashes, you may be putting yourself at risk for dental problems down the road. Plaque buildup on your teeth can lead to cavities and gum disease, which can cause tooth loss or even death if left untreated long enough.
Seniors have special nutritional needs. It is important to make sure that you are getting the proper vitamins and minerals in your diet. Vitamins are important for maintaining your overall health. They help your body to function properly, and they also help to boost your immune system. If you do not take vitamins as a senior, then you will be more likely to get sick or become fatigued. Seniors should always take vitamins on a regular basis to ensure that they are getting the nutrients that they need from food sources.
There are several different types of vitamins that seniors should take on a regular basis. Some of these include:
Vitamin D helps with bone health by increasing calcium absorption in the body. Vitamin D is necessary for strong teeth and bones because it helps the body absorb more calcium from food sources. Seniors who don’t get enough sunlight or who have dark skin may not be able to absorb enough vitamin D from their diets alone, so they should consider taking vitamin D supplements as well as eating foods rich in vitamin D like milk and eggs.
Vitamin C supports immune function by boosting the production of white blood cells that fight off viruses and bacteria in our bodies.
Folic acid can help you maintain good oral health, especially if you’re over 65 years old. As we age, our bodies become less efficient at absorbing folic acid from food sources. This makes it more important for seniors to get enough folic acid through diet or supplements to help prevent dental problems like gum disease and tooth decay.
Schedule regular dental cleanings and exams
Regular dental visits help prevent serious oral health problems like gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer. Seniors should see their dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and exams. If you have a history of gum disease or other dental issues, ask your dentist for advice about how frequently you should visit the office.
Why is Scheduling regular dental cleanings and exams important?
Dental visits are vital because they allow your dentist to detect any early signs of oral health problems before they become serious issues. Dental problems are easier to treat when caught early on in their development. This can save you time, money, and discomfort later on down the road. Examples of tests and exams you undergo during a dentists appointment include:
These take images of your teeth and jawbone to check for broken or missing fillings, tooth decay, and cavities, as well as tumors on the gums or jawbone.
This removes plaque buildup that can cause tooth decay. During the cleaning, your dentist may also examine areas where the gums meet the teeth for signs of inflammation (gingivitis) or infection (periodontitis).
Examination of soft tissues
Your dentist will check for swollen or infected gums or pockets between the gums and tooth where bacteria can collect, causing bad breath (halitosis) or swelling (gingivitis). There may also be sores or wounds that need treatment.
An oral cancer exam
This is performed by taking a visual examination of the inside of your mouth. If any abnormal cells are found, they will be removed surgically or treated with radiation therapy.
Eat a balanced diet
A good diet is an important part of your overall health. It helps you maintain a healthy weight, reduces the risk of serious diseases, and improves your mood. But did you know that eating a balanced diet can also help ensure your oral health?
Eating well-balanced meals throughout the day helps to keep blood sugar levels stable, which helps to reduce acid production in the mouth. If you’re not eating enough vegetables or fruits, you’re missing out on vitamin C, which has been shown to prevent cavities and tooth erosion. A diet high in refined sugars and carbohydrates can increase the risk of tooth decay because it causes food particles to stick together more easily, which leads to plaque formation on teeth.
In addition to eating well-balanced meals throughout the day, it’s important that seniors drink plenty of water throughout the day as well for dental care. This will help keep bacteria from building up in your mouth, protecting against gum disease (gingivitis) and tooth decay (cavities).
Every three to four months, swap your toothbrush
Why should you change your toothbrush every three to four months? Actually, the answer is simple: You need to change your toothbrush because it will get worn out over time. Your toothbrush contains bacteria that becomes trapped on the bristles. When you use your toothbrush again, those bacteria can cause infections in your mouth or even serious diseases like heart disease or stroke. So for dental care, when you see that your toothbrush is getting worn out, it is time for you to throw it away and get a new one.
Consult Your Dentist about Medications You Take
When you visit your dentist, it is important to discuss all medications that you are taking. Many medications have side effects that can affect the health of your teeth and gums. Medications that may negatively affect oral health include:
Some types of antidepressants can affect your dental care and cause dry mouth, which makes it harder for saliva to wash away food particles and bacteria. This raises your chances of getting cavities and gum disease. Antidepressants may also interfere with the effectiveness of other medications used to prevent or treat infections in the mouth.
These medications reduce blood clotting, which helps prevent heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots in the legs or lungs. However, these drugs also increase your risk of bleeding excessively from injuries or cavities in your teeth or gums when they are treated by a dentist or periodontist (specialist in gum disease).
Steroids for asthma, arthritis, or other conditions
Steroids can cause an increase in saliva production (hyperhidrosis), making it harder for your body to control bacterial growth in the mouth. If too many bacteria grow in the mouth, it can lead to bad breath (halitosis), cavities, and gum disease that requires treatment from a dentist.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way to protect my teeth?
For dental care, it is important to brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Gum disease and cavities can be avoided by flossing every day. You should visit the dentist every six months for a check-up and cleaning. This will ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy.
What should I do if one of my teeth hurts?
If you are experiencing pain in one of your teeth, first try rinsing your mouth with warm water or using an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If this does not relieve the pain, it may be time to see your dentist.
What happens at a dental check-up?
A complete dental exam will include x-rays, an oral cancer screening, and an evaluation of periodontal health (gum disease). For dental care, your dentist will also let you know if any treatment is necessary, what types of fillings or crowns might work best for you, as well as how much treatment will cost.
What causes tooth decay?
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria that live in your mouth and eat the sugar that is left on your teeth after you eat or drink something sweet. The bacteria create acid that eats away at the enamel of your teeth until it breaks off and exposes the inner part of your tooth, where infections are able to start growing.
While it’s never a bad time to maintain a healthy smile and to practice good dental care practices, it is especially important for seniors to do so. Eating healthy foods, like fruits, veggies, and whole grains, along with flossing daily, can keep your teeth strong. Taking good care of your mouth can help you stay healthy as you get older.