Paying attention to your oral health is important for people of all ages. However, people older than 65 need to be especially diligent about caring for their teeth, as senior citizens have an increased risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss. The natural aging process plays a role in this increased risk, as do conditions ranging from arthritis to dementia that can make it difficult for older people to properly care for their teeth. The following tips can help extend the life of geriatric teeth and prevent serious oral health issues from occurring in old age.
Try Helpful Oral Health Gadgets
Cavities and tooth decay are now more prevalent in people over 65 than in young children. Physical conditions that come with old age, such as arthritis, can make it difficult to brush and floss your teeth properly. If physical pain or immobility causes you to do an incomplete cleaning job or even skip out on your oral hygiene routine entirely, gadgets like an electric toothbrush and a water flosser could help. These appliances require less motion in your hands, fingers, and wrists, and can help you brush and floss consistently, which is crucial for preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
Do Not Skip Dental Checkups
According to a study performed by the ADA, approximately one fifth of adults over 75 have not been to the dentist in five or more years. Older people may neglect their dental checkups due to decreased mobility, cognitive impairments, financial concerns, or simply because they believe it is not necessary. But routine checkups are essential for cleaning your teeth thoroughly (especially if you find it difficult to keep up with your oral hygiene yourself), as well as detecting and treating tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer early enough to minimize potential future complications and save as many of your natural teeth as possible.
Focus on Nutrition
Nutrition is intricately linked to oral health. Several vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C, phosphorus, magnesium, and many more, are incredibly important for maintaining strong and healthy teeth, and even fighting diseases in some cases. Older people often have a hard time getting adequate nutrition due to a natural decrease in appetite, difficulty chewing due to missing teeth or poorly fitting dentures, or cognitive conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia. If dental issues make it difficult or uncomfortable for you to eat your favorite foods, our office can help. Contact us for more tips on keeping your teeth strong as you age.