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Tips for Senior Dental Care

Patients often wonder if there are specific tips for senior dental care. After all, as you age, your teeth and gums may begin to suffer from everyday wear and tear. You might also notice new issues popping up, like dry mouth or tooth loss. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to combat these problems and others.

For today’s blog post, let’s consider five tips to improve your senior dental care. 

1. Combat natural wear and tear.

It’s not surprising that a lifetime of chewing, biting, and grinding wears away your enamel, the hard, outer layer of your teeth. Luckily, your teeth are very strong and can sustain a lot! 

To keep them in tip top shape, avoid chewing ice or other hard foods. Carbonated beverages, citrus fruits, and juice as well as sugary and starchy foods contain acid that wears away your enamel. Enjoy these items with other foods, specifically milk or cheese, to help “cancel out” or wash the acid away. If you have an uneven bite, you may need orthodontic work. Or if you struggle with grinding in your sleep (bruxism), talk to your dentist about wearing a night guard.

2. Take care of your gums.

Bacteria, or plaque, is always forming on your teeth. If you don’t brush and floss properly, it may lead to swelling and/or soreness of your gums. It may also cause infections that damage the bone underneath. 

Other signs of gum disease, or periodontitis, include:

  • Bleeding when you brush your teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth

If you have any concerns, schedule an appointment with your dentist. The sooner you treat gum disease, the better.

3. Pay special attention to sensitive teeth.

If you suffer from worn enamel, gum problems, and/or tooth decay, you may find yourself struggling with tooth sensitivity too. Drinking something hot or cold or brushing your teeth too hard can lead to discomfort. 

Like many oral health issues, strong senior dental care is the best form of prevention. You can also switch to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth or ask your dentist about in-office treatment options.

4. Avoid dry mouth.

Saliva naturally helps to clean your teeth. As you get older, your mouth gets drier, which means your chances of tooth decay go up. In addition to aging, your medications may be to blame, as many of them dry you out. 

To combat dry mouth, drink a lot of water. You can also try chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless candy. If you think a medication is causing the problem, consider talking to your doctor about possible alternatives.

5. Understand your risk of oral cancer.

As you get older, your chance of developing cancer of the mouth, throat, tongue, or lips increases. To lessen your risk, stop smoking and only drink alcohol in moderation. Be sure to use lip balm with sunscreen when you go outside too.

Because pain isn’t always an early symptom of oral cancer, it’s especially important to see your dentist for biannual check-ups. Warning signs may include red or white patches, sores, and/or any long-lasting changes in your mouth.

Although advancing age may mean oral health problems, you can keep your mouth healthy with these tips for senior dental care!

Call us at 407.834.0330 to schedule your appointment today! Check out our Dental Blog to learn more about topics like restorative dentistry, dental anxiety, and more.