Oral Health Care for the Elderly

Your oral health and overall health are strongly related. As you grow older, taking care for your teeth becomes more important. Many people have a wrong belief that losing teeth is inevitable after certain age. This is misleading. Taken care properly, your teeth will last for life. In this article, we will discuss the importance of oral hygiene for elderly people and tips on keeping teeth healthy as you get older.

Importance of good oral hygiene for elderly people

When evaluating overall health of elderly people, oral health is ignored. It is, however, more important to practice oral hygiene for these people, because it brings the following benefits:

  • It facilitates and encourages eating nutritious diet.
  • Makes able to chew food and, thus enjoy food.
  • Helps to get better breath.
  • Good appearance that makes one speak and eat confidently.

Oral health plays a key role in maintaining the overall health, thus improving quality of life.

Tips on keeping teeth healthy as you grow older

Brush and floss regularly

  • In every stage of life, brushing teeth regularly is important to keep them healthy. Make sure to brush at least twice a day or even after each meal. Brushing removes away a thin layer of bacteria that builds on your teeth.
  • Brushing cleans upto 80% of cleaning your teeth, and flossing will do the rest. Flossing removes tiny food particles in between the teeth and below the gumline. Without flossing, cleaning process of your teeth is not complete.
    • Make sure to floss at least once a day.
  • This can prevent gum problems later, as gum disease affects gum tissues and the bone that supports teeth, ultimately leading to loss of teeth in adults if not taken care of.

Take healthy diet

  • Diet also plays an important role in keeping your teeth healthy and strong. Certain fruits and green leafy vegetables improves your body immune in fighting gum disease. Some food actually may help in defending tooth decay. For example, studies show that fresh cranberries help in preventing the formation of bacteria in the mouth.

Other food that benefits oral health are:

  • Crisps fruits like apples, raw vegetables like carrot that helps in cleaning plaque from the teeth, thus freshening breath.
  • Milk and other dairy products, calcium fortified juices that are rich in calcium and vitamin D helps in making your teeth healthy and strong.
  • Cheese when we eat is mixed with the plaque and gets stuck to the teeth that protects them from acid which cause decay.

Check with the dentist regularly

  • It is essential to go for regular dental checkups, so that any problem can be diagnosed and treated early before it gets too late.
  • During regular checkups, if the dentist notice that there is hardened plaque known as tartar which is the main cause of gum disease, they will remove the plaque with the help of scaling.
  • Visiting a dentist every six months will not only help in keeping your mouth healthy but also helps in identifying dental problems in early stages.

If smoking, quit!

  • Smoking tobacco increases the risk of tooth decay and gum diseases. Smokers are more prone to lose teeth when comparing to non smokers.
  • Moreover, smokers are higher risk of advanced stage of gum disease (periodontal disease) and oral cancer. So if you are smoking, better to quit it.
  • Ask your dentist about nicotine replacement therapies that will help you in quit this habit soon.

Following these basic tips will help you keep your oral health intact in your elderly age.

You may also like to read:
All You Need to Know About Brushing Your Teeth
Importance of Flossing Your Teeth
Tips on Maintaining Oral Health
Why You Should Visit the Dentist Every Six Months?
Get to Know Dental Cavities
Stages of Tooth Decay
What are the Stages of Gum Disease?


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