4 Reasons Seniors Need Healthy Teeth
Having good oral health is important for patient’s at every stage of life, including the seniors of Clear Lake, Texas. The condition of one’s mouth not only affects their comfort and appearance, but it also contributes to their overall quality of life.
Healthy Teeth in Seniors is a Must Have
Maintaining healthy teeth is important for seniors because:
- Prevent Oral Problems ー Good dental care helps to prevent common oral problems like toothaches, gum disease, and tooth loss.
- Maintaining a Balanced Diet ー Missing teeth or frequent toothaches and loose teeth can affect dietary intake in seniors because certain foods can be difficult or painful to chew. Since older people appropriate nutritional intake, healthy teeth will allow seniors to eat a properly balanced diet.
- Improving Self Esteem ー Many seniors suffer from depression for a variety of reasons. Missing teeth is just one of them. Having healthy teeth and a nice smile just might give them something to smile and feel good about.
- Avoid Gum Disease ー Good senior dental care and regular dental exams can help prevent gum disease which is an oral condition that can affect seniors in other ways. For example, diabetes is harder to control in patients with gum disease. Also, gum disease has been associated with heart disease and stroke.
Common Dental Concerns for Seniors
Dry Mouth From Medications
Seniors tend to take a lot of prescription medications that cause dry mouth ー a condition in which the salivary glands don’t produce enough moisture to keep the mouth lubricated. But coming off of their medication usually isn’t an option, so it’s important to combat the dry mouth before they develop serious levels of tooth decay. Saliva substitutes and fluoride rinses can help keep teeth more resistant to plaque, acid, and enamel erosion.
Manual Dexterity Problems
Arthritis and other joint problems that decrease the manual dexterity in seniors can make it very difficult for them to brush and floss properly. It may be necessary to help them with these tasks in order to help maintain a healthy oral environment. More frequent visits to the dentist for professional cleanings is also helpful. An investment in a quality electric toothbrush can make their home care routine more effective, even if dexterity is limited.
When your beloved senior starts to lose their memory, they’ll forget things like, when they last brushed their teeth. Such a simple task can get overlooked more frequently, leading to oral health issues that get worse with time.
Lack of Transportation
It’s important that seniors visit the dentist for professional cleanings at least every six months. This will help keep their teeth clean, prevent cavities, and check for potential dental problems while they’re easier and more affordable to treat.
When transportation becomes an issue and seniors can’t drive, dental visits might get put on the back burner. Or your loved one may have so many doctors’ visits lined up that a dental cleaning might seem less important. Keep in mind that prevention is key and oral problems can be limited when they see a dentist routinely.
How To Improve Dental Health In Seniors
The following are some tips that can help your elderly loved one maintain good dental health in the years ahead:
- Seniors should brush their teeth at twice daily. A soft, electric toothbrush may make this task easier if dexterity is a challenge. If it doesn’t help then you may just have to brush their teeth for them.
- Flossing is also important and should be performed at least once a day. Floss picks are easier to maneuver than traditional flossing string.
- For those with memory loss, you can help by setting an alarm for them to remind them to perform their oral care routine. Or just make yourself an active part of their daily oral ritual.
- Make sure that your elderly loved one is removing their dentures before going to sleep and cleaning them thoroughly. Their gums should also be getting brushed. Overwearing dentures can cause severe gum irritation, sores, or oral infections.
Dental Care for Seniors in Clear Lake, Texas
If you have an elderly loved one then don’t forget to make their dental care a priority. At Rosas Family Dentistry we have a special place in our hearts for our senior patients. In addition to Clear Lake, we also serve the League City, Webster, Seabrook, Friendswood, Kemah, and NASA areas. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment for your family member. We look forward to meeting you soon!