Oral Care For Older Adults
Regardless of your age, taking good care of your teeth and mouth should always be a priority. But as you get older and start heading into your sixties, it’s even more important to keep up a routine of good oral hygiene. So what are some of the best ways to keep your oral health up as an older adult?
Why it Matters to Have Good Oral Hygiene
As you get older, there are a few oral health issues that you become more susceptible to. Some of these include gum disease, tooth decay, and dry mouth.
Periodontal disease, more commonly called gum disease, is the result of a plaque and tartar buildup that irritates the gums and causes them to feel sore, swollen, and to bleed easily when you brush your teeth. If left untreated, it can cause infection in your gums and even lead to the loss of your teeth.
When plaque and bacteria in your mouth are given lots of sugar and starches to feed on, it can result in the production of acids that attack your tooth enamel. Like gum disease, it can cause cavities and require a filling, and in severe cases the decay can become so severe that the tooth will have to be removed.
Dryness in the mouth can be caused by multiple different things, but is most commonly the result of medicine side effects or mild dehydration. Since older adults often have to take multiple kinds of medication throughout the day, it can be an irritating problem to deal with, but can be reduced with proper hydration.
While all of these are treatable, it is much easier to prevent them than to deal with them.
Parts of a Strong Oral Health Routine
Getting into a good oral health routine can be completely straightforward once you know what to do. Most aspects of this routine are things you might be doing already!
Brushing Your Teeth
Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day, usually in the morning and evening. Once you get older, though, you may find it difficult to do this because of mobility limitations or conditions like arthritis. Luckily, there are many accessibility tools you can use to help make brushing your teeth easier, no matter what struggles you might have to work around. Some of these include extended toothbrush handles, softer bristles, or an electric toothbrush; make sure to ask your dentist for recommendations!
Flossing helps to reduce bacteria and plaque buildup and clears your teeth of anything that might get stuck between them. Like brushing your teeth, flossing can be made difficult by aging, but there are tools that can help you here, too! If you struggle with flossing, you can ask your dentist about floss holders, interdental cleaners, or water flossers.
Visiting the Dentist
No matter your age, you should make it a point to schedule regular dentist visits to catch any health complications before they can get severe. As you get older, your dentist can give you advice on how to keep your teeth at their best, and they can provide screenings for oral cancer and catch gum disease or tooth decay early.
Hydration is a major factor in oral health, especially if you struggle with dry mouth as many older adults do. It’s always a good plan to reduce the amount of soda, caffeinated drinks, or alcohol you consume and replace it with lots of water.
Arguably one of the most important things you can do for your body is to eat nutrient-rich foods that promote oral health. Limiting your consumption of sugars or foods high in carbohydrates and replacing them with healthier foods is a great start. To keep your teeth and bones healthy, you should also aim for foods high in calcium.
Cutting Harmful Habits
In addition to these things, you should avoid habits that harm your dental health, such as smoking or chewing tobacco. It’s easy to push aside worries about these things as you get older since you may have been doing them for a long time, but it’s never too late to prioritize your health and take steps toward quitting.
Using the Right Products
As an older adult looking to take their oral health seriously, you should start strong by choosing high-quality products formulated by dental professionals. LIVFRESH uses a patented dental gel formula that provides your teeth with a deep, long-lasting clean. Browse our line of dental gels now to find the product that’s right for your routine.