When it comes to medical concerns, older adults often focus on their heart health and cognitive strength. A commonly overlooked aspect of physical well-being is mouth health. Dental health is just as important as other aspects of well-being, so it is essential for seniors to take care of their oral hygiene.
Important Dental Facts for Seniors in Assisted Living in Saint Augustine, Florida
With age, your oral health needs can change significantly. Learn ten major facts about aging and dental health below!
1. Your Risk of Gum Disease Is Increased
While gum disease is a risk at any age, it is significantly more common in older individuals. Issues like periodontitis and gingivitis can have a major impact on the overall health of older adults. Therefore, proper dental hygiene, including daily brushing, flossing, and mouthwash, is critical.
2. Certain Medications Can Cause Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is incredibly common among seniors in assisted living facilities in St. Augustine, FL. While dry mouth can occur as a result of age, many older adults struggle with dry mouth due to the medications they take. Medications used for health concerns like heart disease can increase the risk of developing dry mouth.
3. Flossing Is Essential
Even diligent brushing cannot reach every area in the mouth. To decrease the risk of gum disease, seniors should floss at least once daily to remove food particles and bacteria from between their teeth.
4. Root Decay Is Common with Age
Many older individuals experience root decay as they continue to age. If root decay becomes severe, root canals and other extensive dental procedures may be needed.
5. Poor Oral Health Increases Pneumonia Risk
Pneumonia is a common concern for older adults, as it can have dire consequences. Many people do not realize that poor dental health can actually increase the risk of developing pneumonia.
6. Worn Enamel Is More Likely
With age, the enamel is more likely to become worn and broken down from years of friction. For this reason, it is important for seniors to practice appropriate dental hygiene and use products that are made for sensitive enamel to prevent further damage.
7. Dentures Must Be Left Out Overnight
Many adults in assisted living in Saint Augustine, Florida, wear dentures, but some are not aware of proper denture maintenance. Dentures must be cleaned daily with specialized toothpaste and not worn overnight. Regular toothpaste should be avoided, as it is too abrasive for dentures, causing breaks and cracks where bacteria can enter.
8. Mouthwashes Should Be Used
Due to joint pain and stiffness, brushing properly can be tricky for some older adults. Seniors should use mouthwash to reach the spots they may miss during brushing. Mouthwash can reach between the teeth to help dislodge small food particles and kill bacteria. Ideally, seniors should rinse with mouthwash at least once a day.
9. Cavities Are Common
The risk of developing cavities increases with age – even if you have dentures. Cavities can develop in your natural teeth or dentures, which means proper oral hygiene is essential at all ages. Excessive sugar should also be avoided to lower the risk of cavities forming.
10. Electric Toothbrushes Are Easier to Use
Many older adults struggle with joint pain, stiffness, and aches in their hands. This can make using a manual toothbrush difficult. With rotating bristles, electric toothbrushes do much of the work on their own. This makes them easier to use for seniors who struggle to use manual brushes.
Dental health is an important part of life at any age. By taking the right steps and precautions when it comes to maintaining dental hygiene you can minimize the damage or risks associated with poor oral hygiene.