Seniors who maintain good oral hygiene reduce the risk of developing health conditions such as Alzheimer’s and heart disease. Keeping up with dental care is just as important as keeping the rest of your body healthy. Here are some things that seniors can do to maintain and improve their oral health.
Consume a Healthy Diet
Food that is rich in nutrients can help promote healthy teeth for seniors. Minerals such as calcium are great for seniors as it helps to build bones and provide structural support. Foods such as broccoli, salmon, cheese, and low-fat milk help harden enamel and increase bone density. Foods that contain Vitamin C are also helpful as they strengthen the soft tissue within the mouth, which protects against tooth loss and gum disease. Keeping a nutritious, balanced, and healthy diet for seniors also has benefits such as increasing energy levels for seniors.
Daily Brushing and Flossing
Seniors can invest in electric toothbrushes, floss holders, or other alternatives to help make brushing and flossing easier for them. There are also toothbrushes available with special bristle patterns that can help seniors to brush their teeth more thoroughly. Fluoride, present in toothpaste, helps prevent damaged gums and tooth decay. Brushing twice a day and flossing once daily is optimal for dental health.
Rinse with Salt Water
In tandem with regular brushing and flossing, a saltwater rinse can enhance seniors’ dental hygiene. A teaspoon of salt added to the water used for rinsing can help prevent the growth of bacteria in the mouth and increase seniors’ pH balance.
Aside from increasing the risk of disease and health conditions, smoking also causes plaque, tartar build-up, and tooth discoloration. Smoking also causes salivary glands to inflame, tooth loss, and gum disease. Seniors are encouraged to stop smoking and instead take up healthy habits that can counter the urge to smoke, such as exercising.
Regular Dental Visits
Even seniors who practice good dental care habits can benefit from regular visits to their dentists. In addition to checking up on your dental care, dentists can determine seniors’ risk of developing conditions like oral cancer. Caught early, these diseases can often be treated successfully, so do be sure to go for regular dental check-ups.
Taking Care of Dentures
For seniors with dentures, taking care of them is vital not only for their dentures but for their mouths. Like teeth, dentures should be brushed daily to remove remnants of food and plaque. They should also be cleaned and rinsed regularly with either hand soap or a mild dishwashing liquid. When putting in and removing dentures, seniors should be standing over a sink full of water, just in case they drop the dentures. Here are some other tips for bathroom safety for seniors living independently.
Taking Care of Roots
Gum recession can cause tooth roots to become exposed. Unlike the parts of teeth that are normally exposed, roots can decay as they are not protected from acids. Hot and cold temperatures can aggravate exposed roots, causing pain and discomfort. If seniors are facing this issue, they should consult with a dentist for advice.
Taking Care of Your Dental Health
As you can see, ensuring good dental health benefits not only your mouth but your health in general. Keeping a good diet and maintaining good dental habits are key to ensuring that your dental care is in great shape.