Basics of Senior Dental Care
Health concerns can change as the body grows older and it’s no different for dental health. As the body advances in age, it can cause brand new risks for oral health problems. It’s very important for seniors to continue to practice good oral hygiene to help prevent many problems with their teeth, mouth and gums.
Common Oral Health Problems for Seniors
Here are some of the most common problems seniors may have to deal with when it comes to their oral health:
- Darkening teeth
- Dry mouth
- Loss of taste
- Root decay
- Gum disease
- Loss of a tooth or teeth
- Uneven jawbones
- Stomatitis caused by dentures
Just because you age does not mean you are going to develop any of these conditions, it can mean that you need to be more conscientious about oral health care as you age to help prevent them. Age affects our bodies and other medical conditions like arthritis can affect the ability to brush or floss the teeth properly. Some of the medications taken by seniors can also affect their oral health and in some instances change their dental treatment care plan.
Oral Hygiene Tips for Seniors
One of the most important oral hygiene habits for anyone is to brush and floss teeth daily. The goal of good oral care is to prevent the buildup of plaque on the teeth and seniors can experience even faster buildup of plaque, especially if they neglect good oral hygiene. If left untreated, plaque buildup can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. For seniors to maintain good oral health, it’s important for them to:
- Brush their teeth at least two times each day – using a fluoride toothpaste
- Floss their teeth at least one time a day
- Rinse their mouth out a couple times a day (maybe after brushing) with an antiseptic mouthwash
- Schedule regular checkups with their dentist for routine cleaning and oral exams
Dental Exams for Seniors
A dentist will conduct a thorough medical history and a dental exam. They will ask a lot of questions such as:
- When was your last dental visit?
- Why did you schedule this visit?
- Have there been any changes in your mouth lately?
- Do you have any sensitive or loose teeth presently?
- Do you have any difficulty chewing, tasting or swallowing foods?
- Does anything in your mouth cause you discomfort? (sores, bleeding, pain)
- Are there any swelling, bumps or lumps in your mouth?
Our Markham dentist will also check things like your face and neck for sores, your bite, jaw, lymph nodes, tongue, inner cheeks and your teeth. He will be looking for any signs of sores, decay, oral cancer or any other abnormalities. If you wear dentures, then he will check them to ensure they fit properly and if they are causing any sort of trouble so it can be corrected if necessary. He will also take a look around your mouth to see if your dentures are broken or abnormally worn for their age.