As you age, your oral health declines. Common senior physical conditions like arthritis can also make your oral routine difficult. Taking various medications also impacts oral health and hygiene, making maintaining dental health for seniors difficult.
When you understand the consequences of oral neglect, prioritizing your oral health becomes easier.
Common Senior Oral Health Issues
- Gum Disease
Gum disease occurs based on excess plaque buildup. Food particles, tobacco use, and several oral diseases raise the probability of gum disease. In severe cases, it also causes tooth loss.
To prevent gum disease, you’ll need to improve your oral routine. Make a habit of brushing twice every day for two minutes to minimize buildup. Flossing loosens and removes hard to reach plaque.
In addition to your oral care routine, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet. Drinking water helps remove food particles, which makes it hard for plaque to form. Eating healthy foods like carrots and apples produce saliva, which breaks down foods for easier digestion.
- Dry Mouth
Senior citizens with diseases like cancer and Sjögren’s syndrome often experience dry mouth, especially after treatment. Dry mouth occurs based on a lack of saliva to lubricate your oral cavity. When you don’t have enough saliva, bacteria have a better chance of survival and cause disease.
If a medication causes your dry mouth, talk to your doctor about adjusting your dosage. They may also recommend an oral rinse, which adds moisture to your mouth. You can also suck on a sugar-free piece of candy to encourage saliva production.
Dry mouth may also be a sign of dehydration. Make a habit of drinking water throughout the day for regular moisturization. Incorrect breathing also leads to dry mouth. Instead of breathing through your mouth, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
- Oral Thrush
Another common dental health problem seniors face is oral thrush. This condition occurs when excess amounts of the fungus candida accumulate in your mouth. Although your body naturally carries this fungus, it becomes dangerous when it grows uncontrollably.
It’s common for seniors with dentures to get oral thrush. Once diagnosed, the treatment depends on your immune health. Often, your doctor prescribes antifungal medication. In addition to taking medication, it’s important to regularly brush and floss your teeth, get routine checkups, and keep health conditions under control. Diseases like HIV and diabetes cause bacterial imbalances.
Aging increases health risks, including oral conditions. To avoid harmful oral problems, you must stay on top of your hygiene. Maintaining dental health for seniors includes eating healthy foods, drinking water, and routine dental checkups.
If you’re in Pleasant View, Utah, set an appointment at Mountain View Dental. Mountain View Dental assists children and seniors alike with a variety of oral health services. Their professional and welcoming staff make sure their patients are as comfortable as their surroundings. Visit their website and schedule a consultation to improve your oral health today.