Dental care and good oral hygiene should be something you practice your whole life, however as you age, you may find that certain parts of your healthcare routines require more effort than others. For many older people there is a fear that as they age they will lose their teeth, however this isn’t necessarily the case as long as you continue to practice good oral hygiene and have regular check ups with your dentist. For more dental advice for older adults, read on.
Maintaining your teeth and gums as you get older
Prevention is better than cure as they say, so when it comes to preventing dental issues as you get older, the key is to continue keeping up those good oral health habits. These include brushing and flossing twice a day, cutting out the sugary drinks and snacks, quitting smoking and going to see your dentist regularly. At your check ups, your dentist will be able to take x-rays to monitor any cavities developing and any gum recession, so they can take corrective action as soon as possible. If you find that an elderly relative is struggling with cleaning their teeth properly due to poor eyesight, a magnifying mirror and a bathroom light might be of use.
Dealing with gum recession
As you get older, you may find that you have more problems with your gums due to recession, which is an irreversible process and one which can lead to further complications such as sensitivity, infection and eventually tooth loss. Gum recession may also be related to advancing gum disease, however it can be halted with proper oral hygiene and correct tooth and gum care. It is important to note that as your gums recede, they expose more of the root and this can also lead to an increased risk of decay. Maintaining flossing routines as you get older will help you deal with plaque which can cause gum recession, so that your teeth and gums stay in great shape.
Elderly people can sometimes experience delayed wound healing, and for problems in your mouth this can be very troublesome as it means infections can take longer to heal. Certain medications may also prohibit healing and leave you feeling uncomfortable or in pain, and could even reduce saliva in your mouth which is important for protecting teeth against decay. If you suffer from dry mouth, talk to your dentist for tailored advice on how to manage these symptoms safely.
If you have missing teeth or wear dentures, you may find you need to spend longer on your oral hygiene each day. Looking after your dentures properly will ensure they stay clean and hygienic, and also that they remain a comfortable fit in your mouth. You should also remember to take them out at night to allow your mouth lining to stay healthy too. If you notice any changes in how your dentures fit, talk to your dentist for advice.
Loose or uncomfortable dentures
As we get older, the gum ridges in our mouths can shrink, leading to previously comfortable dentures becoming ill-fitting. This can cause sore areas in your mouth, feeling self-conscious about your smile or your facial shape and of course, could result in you not being able to chew your food properly. The good news is that for many people wearing ill-fitting dentures the solution is very simple – at Docklands Dental, we can now use dental implants to stabilise dentures or even replace them altogether. A dental implant is the closest alternative available to a real tooth (in both functionality and appearance) so you could say goodbye forever to dentures.
For more dental advice, no matter what your age, talk to our friendly team and book a check up either of our modern surgeries in Dublin.