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4 Things Seniors Can Do to Improve Their Oral and Dental Health

Senior Asian woman smiling and covering her mouth in front of red flowers

By Anita Ginsburg 

As people get older, their bodies need diligent attention to continue working effectively. Dental care plays an important role in overall health, and there are several things seniors can do to protect their teeth and mouth. The following steps are valuable for everyone, but they can especially help seniors to maintain good oral and dental health.

Daily Hygiene

Brushing your teeth twice a day will help to reduce bacteria in the mouth and keep breath fresh. Flossing is also important for removing food crumbs and any type of residue around the teeth, especially below the gum line. Your dentist may recommend a special mouthwash for rinsing your mouth to provide fluoride treatment or reduce plaque, among other things.

Regular Dental Checkups

Gum shrinkage and tooth loss are common problems among the elderly. These and other dental health concerns are reasons why seniors should see a dentist twice a year or more often, especially if symptoms of pain, swelling, or unexplained oral bleeding occur.

Routine dental exams can catch problems early before they become more significant. Once a tooth loosens or falls out, it can set off a chain reaction that causes the remaining teeth to tilt or move out of place. Filling a small cavity can prevent the tooth becoming so decayed that it will fall out or require extraction.

Dental Implants

Losing teeth is not uncommon in older populations. Though the goal is to keep as many teeth as you can for as long as possible, you have plenty of options when you do start to lose teeth. When a tooth deteriorates and comes out of the socket or is extracted due to infection, it is a good idea to fill that open area in the gum with a replacement tooth.

Dental implants are a popular treatment. Your dentist will embed a metal stud into your jaw bone. A tooth-like cap is screwed onto the stud to fill the oral gap with a natural-looking replacement. The procedure is common, generally safe, and affordable with insurance or payment plans.

Dentures

Another option for replacing missing teeth is to have a partial or complete set of dentures made by taking the patient’s oral impression. Dentures can be worn or removed according to the patient’s preference, and they are easy to clean. Some patients don’t like the task of removing and cleaning them each day, but the dentures do enhance a person’s dental appearance.

Older people can continue to look healthy and youthful with a solid set of teeth. The above steps can help to protect and extend dental health and well being.

Bio: Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.

 

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