As kids, the trip to the Dentist was one where we were concerned about cavities. As we age, cavities are less a problem. As we get older, our body matures and so does out mouth, and the changes affect not just the teeth, but the gums and the bone that support our teeth.
Research shows that poor oral health can make chronic health problems like diabetes and heart disease worse. Oral health is often made worse in that senior adults often take medications that lead to dry mouth.
Below are 10 tips to help improve oral health for senior adults:
- Stay hydrated, water is best for this and avoid liquids with caffeine especially soda.
- Tap water is best: tap water in most areas has fluoride which also helps oral health.
- Choose high protein snacks as they help neutralize the acids found in plaque.
- Avoid sugars and candy, especially late in the day.
- Brush your teeth right before bed and avoid rinsing the toothpaste from your mouth. The toothpaste residue helps fight cavities as we sleep.
- If you have partial or full dentures, keep them clean.
- Flossing is important to good gum health. If you have problems with flossing, consider a waterpik.
- Consider adding a night time mouthwash to your bedtime routine. Choose one with fluoride.
- Visit your dentist at least twice per year.
- Make sure your dentist has a list of your medications; especially those which cause a dry mouth and make sure you tell your dentist about any pain or problems with flossing.
Following these simple tips can help us keep the teeth we have and prevent problems in the future. Best of all, we will have a great smile!