Oral Hygiene Tips for Seniors

We’re all getting older, and while some signs are obvious (greying or missing hair, wrinkles, etc.), many more are not. Most of us are committed to taking care of our bodies and seeing a physician regularly. It is just as important to visit a dentist regularly so as to catch problems early and benefit from regular preventive care.

Advancing age puts many seniors at risk for a number of oral health problems, such as:

  • An impaired sense of taste caused by diseases or medications, as well as dentures. As a result, many seniors increase their intake of sugary foods which tend to be easier to taste/enjoy but which cause cavities.
  • Dry mouth as a result of reduced saliva flow, which can be a result of certain medications, including some high blood pressure medications, hormonal changes, cancer treatments, as well as diseases such as Sjögren's syndrome. Dry mouth can facilitate and speed up cavities as well as gum disease.
  • Gum disease - caused by plaque and made worse by food left in teeth, use of tobacco products, poor-fitting bridges and dentures, poor diets, and certain diseases, such as anemia or diabetes.
  • Darkened teeth, caused, to some extent, by changes in your tooth dentin, the outer enamel layer, and by a lifetime of consuming stain-causing foods and beverages.

Age in and of itself is not a dominant or sole factor in determining oral health. With a lifetime of good oral health habits, you may avoid any and all of these conditions. However, certain medical conditions, such as arthritis in the hands and fingers, may make brushing or flossing teeth difficult to impossible to perform. Drugs can also affect oral health and may make a change in your dental treatment necessary.

To help keep your teeth and mouth healthy for your entire life, here are a few oral hygiene tips for seniors:

  • Plaque can build up quickly on the teeth of seniors, brushing twice daily and flossing natural teeth at least once a day is essential to keeping them in good oral health. An electric toothbrush can be a really useful tool to enhance your oral health
  • Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash, such as Listerine with Fluoride, once or twice a day to reduce bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.
  • If you wear complete or partial dentures, take them out of your mouth for at least four hours every 24 hours to keep the lining of your mouth healthy and clean them on a daily basis with cleaners made specifically for dentures.
  • Visit your dentist on a regular schedule for cleaning and an oral exam - bring a list of your medications and medical conditions and allergies to ensure a proper diagnosis.

Red Deer Dental Clinic

At Parkland Mall Dental Centre, our dedicated team of professionals are here to help you with your oral health journey at all ages. Contact Parkland Mall Dental Centre today at 403-342-1118 to schedule an appointment in Red Deer, Lacombe, Blackfalds, Delburne, and surrounding areas of Alberta.