Taking excellent care of our oral health is something that must be practiced throughout our whole lives. Even when we go through our senior years, it’s still something to be observed, mainly because aging affects our entire body, including our teeth.
For senior citizens, there’s also the matter of special considerations and needs for oral health. This is because they are more susceptible to oral diseases that younger people can avoid otherwise, such as tooth decay and gum disease. For this reason, elders need to receive dental care.
In this article, we list down tips so that your elderly loved one will get the proper dental care for them. Read on below to learn more.
Get Them to Visit the Dentist
First and foremost, elders won’t know how to get their teeth cared for unless they go to the dentist. In some cases, elders can’t drive, so you’ll have to drive them yourself.
It’s recommended that seniors visit the dentist at least twice a year unless their dentist has set a specific period for their visits. Maintaining a regular dental appointment schedule is crucial because the dentist can recommend things that can be done to improve oral health.
That said, here are some more tips to consider:
#1 - Daily Brushing Must Be Done
The best way to take care of oral health at home is by brushing your teeth. It’s recommended to brush your teeth twice a day, which is one in the morning and one before going to bed. In some cases, dentists will require their patients between meals.
For seniors, it’s vital to do so because it can help maintain oral health. The toothbrush that they will use must have softer bristle strength not to make their gums bleed.
#2 - Floss Regularly
Flossing is just as important as brushing your teeth. Unfortunately, many people don’t do this. Seniors can benefit from flossing because it reduces the risk of developing cavities and gum disease.
If an elderly person has gaps between their teeth, then flossing can be difficult and painful. Have them talk to their dentist so that they will know how to floss correctly.
#3 - Use Mouthwash
Similar to daily brushing, using mouthwash two times a day daily also helps in maintaining oral health. Mouthwash is used after brushing and flossing because you could be less inclined to do so if you do it first when your mouth already feels clean.
The best kinds of mouthwash that elders can use are alcohol-free variants, specifically antiseptic and antibacterial ones. They’re available in any pharmacy, so you should have no problems finding one.
#4 - Take Calcium Supplements
Senior citizens lose the ability to absorb calcium as much as they did during their younger years.
Since calcium is what strengthens the teeth, it poses a threat to their oral health. Giving them calcium supplements will prevent oral problems aside from other physical conditions, such as osteoporosis.
#5 - Take Care of Your Oral Appliances
Most senior citizens use oral appliances, such as dentures. A dentist will give specific instructions regarding denture care, and it’s essential to follow them. If dentures provide an elderly person pain or discomfort, take them to the dentist to get a new one.
#6 - Drink Plenty of Water
Senior citizens who take certain medications can cause their mouths to grow dry, leading to enamel erosion. The enamel is the thin outer layer of a tooth, which offers protection. In other words, enamel erosion can lead to weaker teeth.
You can ask your doctor to switch your medications, but a more straightforward solution is to increase water intake because it dilutes acids to protect your teeth.
Dental health must be taken very seriously, especially for elders who often have special needs. If you leave existing dental problems, it can lead to worse outcomes, so bringing an elderly loved one to the dentist is something that must be done.
Dental House MI provides top-quality yet affordable dentistry in Ann Arbor. We believe that everyone deserves a chance at excellent oral health, which is why we go above and beyond for our patients. Contact us today for a consultation!