Adults aged 60 and over are very prone to cavities, gum disease, and oral cancers. This is a time when dental care for seniors is most important. Besides brushing your teeth and gums at least twice a day, flossing is more necessary than most think. Drinking plenty of water and regular visits to the dentist are also imperative to not only one's oral health, but overall health as well.
Flossing not only helps to remove plaque from between teeth and under gums where the toothbrush cannot reach, but it helps to prevent periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria present in the plaque that invade teeth. These bacteria can lead to swollen and inflamed gums, causing irritation and bleeding. Gum diseases are often overlooked in the beginning stages because they are painless. Gum tissue pulls from the teeth where food particles are able to accumulate.
According to the American Dental Association, “Advanced gum disease can eventually destroy the gums, bone and ligaments supporting the teeth leading to tooth loss.” By flossing regularly, you can help decrease your chances of developing periodontal disease, but also make sure to keep checking in with your dentist for early detection.
Drinking water helps keep your body hydrated, but it also helps your mouth produce saliva. Adults 60 and over tend to have dryer mouths due to dry mouth caused by medications and medical ailments. By drinking water, you help to replenish the saliva in your mouth, which helps reduce the prevalence of cavities in your mouth.
Like water, saliva helps wash away germs and particles in your mouth that can be harmful to your teeth and cause cavities. Other ways to make sure your mouth stays moisturized is to chew on some sugar-free gum, which also helps stimulate saliva production, and avoid alcohol, coffee and other beverages that cause your mouth and body to dehydrate.
Seeing a dentist regularly is vital to your health. Your dentist can help point out early signs of gum disease that your eye may not be trained to detect. Also, some medications have side effects that may cause dry mouth or cause sensitive tissue, including gum tissue. Your dentist can help separate side effects stemming from your medications and those stemming from poor oral health.
When visiting your dentist it is best to be honest about your medical history and also make them aware of any changes or additions to your medications.
Stay healthy and smiling!
Rory Mycek is a guest contributor from TopDentists.com.