Dental Care tips for Older People

Somewhere at the back of our mind, we are all aware of what might happen to our teeth when we get old. The biggest thing that haunts us is whether we will be able to retain our teeth throughout the stretch of our lifetime. Well we definitely can, provided we are willing to care for them from an early age. Proper dental care should be taken even at an older age from a dentist or a hygienist to ensure that we don’t end up losing our teeth. Here is a complete guide that will hold one in good stead in his old days.

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Plaque Deposition – Resulting in Gum Disease and Tooth Decay

Yes, there are other things to take care of other than dental anxiety and tooth sensitivity when we get old. The deposition of bacteria known as ‘plaque’ is quite common in the teeth and the gums. This plaque needs to be cleared otherwise it can cause inflammation in the gums, which can eventually affect the bone under the teeth. This is the bone that supports the tooth roots. Hence, any damage caused to the bone may lead to loose teeth. However, it is important that one realises that he is suffering from gum disease. Common symptoms include receding gums, bad breath, bleeding gums while brushing, etc.

It also has to be kept in mind that plaque deposition that causes gum inflammation can also cause tooth decay, especially when exposed to sugary fluids and drinks. Due to receding gums, a decay at the gum edge is possible as a result of the ‘neck’ of the tooth not being well protected by the enamel.

Plaque Removal – Cleanliness Tips

Gum disease and Tooth decay can be cured by the thorough removal of plaque content from the teeth. It is advisable to make use of fluoride toothpastes for this purpose. Other than this, other special toothpastes are also available in the market like total care, tartar control, etc. One should ideally look for the BDHF accredited products. The ideal toothbrush to use would be a small-headed, medium textured one. Woodsticks and floss can be used to clean between the teeth. However, when we get hold, our physical strength and power to move gets restricted. So, one might not feel at ease while gripping the toothbrush, especially the ones suffering from Arthritis. Electronic toothbrushes and thick handled ones are the best for such people.

Often, older people suffer from a dry mouth as a result of the side effect of the medicines that are prescribed to them. The chances of tooth decay increase in the prevalence of dry mouth. Many might feel that sipping through drinks throughout the day might help. This is not the right thing to do as the regular intake of sugary fluids will only make matter worse. A visit to the dentist at such a stage will provide clarity on what has to be done in order to maintain cleanliness.

Dentures – The Perfect Replacement for Lost Teeth

It might so happen that despite all the care, one ends up loosing teeth. Dentures can be the perfect replacement at such a situation. But, it is important that one knows a thing or two about dentures before actually putting them to use. One should be in sync with the following points.

  • Dentures should be replaced every five years as the shape of the mouth keeps changing throughout the period of ones’ life.

  • One might experience pain and discomfort initially, but regular check ups by the dentist can help in eliminating the pain.

  • One should always keep their old dentures. This makes it easier for the dentist to prepare a set of new ones.

  • After wearing dentures for a few days, if there is a persistent discomfort with soreness in the mouth, speech and eating, then one must go back to the dentist without wasting anymore time.

  • It is important to provide rest to the mouth from wearing dentures at least for a few hours in the day. Often dentists might ask you to leave them aside at night while sleeping. If this is not possible, consider keeping them aside for a few hours anytime during the day according to your convenience.

  • Poorly fitted dentures can lead to mouth ulcers.

  • It is important to clean the dentures at least once every day. Cleaning it over a basin of cold water is advisable. This will ensure that it does not break if dropped. The surfaces can be cleaned by using a toothbrush along with a toothpaste or a denture cleaner.

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Dental Care Guideline for Older People

Most people believe a common myth that – With Growing Age, Tooth Loss And Sunken Teeth Are Inevitable.

Though, as you grow old, tooth loss is a common phenomenon, but age is not to be blamed. Gum disease and tooth decay are probably responsible for the loss. But you can control and cure gum disease and tooth decay at any age.

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As you get older, your gums may recede increasing your tooth sensitivity. You can ask your dentist to show you the proper brushing technique to control your gum problems and get suggestions of mouthwash to deal with your tooth sensitivity.

Normal Cleaning can be difficult for people having medical issues with their arms and/or hands or have poor eyesight. If so, discuss the matter openly with your dentist.

A magnifying mirror, a good light, and brushes with handles that can be held easily are often helpful. If you wear a denture or removable bridges, your teeth need special care which again your hygienist can help you with.

Old Age Dental Problems

  • Dry Mouth

    Many of us take regular medication. This often makes our mouths dry. Saliva secretion in our mouth keeps it moist. So, if you have less saliva than usually required, you need to talk to your dentist for artificial saliva and/or over the counter solutions.

     

  • Gum problems

    Gum problems are generally caused due to the formation of bacteria called ‘plaque’, which forms on your teeth and gums at a constant rate. Gum inflammation can be avoided if these plaques are removed. If you ignore for a long time, gum inflammation will start affecting the bone under your gums. These bones actually support your tooth, and so you will eventually have tooth loss.

     

  • Mouth ulcers

    Ulcers may cause due to broken teeth, ill fitted dentures or sharp food pieces. Once you remove the cause, it should heal within 2 weeks. If you have an ulcer, which is taking more time than required, see your dentist without much delay.

Detecting Gum Disease and Preventive Measures

Some common signs of gum disease are – bleeding gums (when brushed), loose teeth, receding gums which are often accompanied by bad breath.

Even if you have only one of the symptoms mentioned above, you may have gum disease.

  • To get rid o gum disease, you need to remove the plaque from your teeth at least twice daily using a fluoride toothpaste. Look for BDHF products, as they are clinically tested.

  • Avoid sugary foods

  • Visit your dentist and hygienist at a regular interval.

  • Dry mouth can be helped by sipping drink all day long.

Brushing Tips

To clean your teeth properly, you need a small headed medium sized brush and a fluoride toothpaste. Interspace brushes, tape, floss and wood sticks can also be used to clean the gaps in between the teeth. People with limited movements can also use an electric toothbrush to serve the purpose.

How to know if you have removed all the plaque?

Plaque can be sustained with food dye painted on your teeth with a cotton bud, or with ‘disclosing tablets’ from the drugstore.

Such a stain is safe and can spot any areas of your mouth that seeks your closer attention.

Denture – Wait Time


Normally people wonder how long they have to wait for the dentures, after they lost their teeth. If your plannings go right, it can be fitted on the same day. But, as the gums alters its shape, these need to be seen and adjusted by the dentist within 6 – 12 months.

Cleaning of normal dentures and partial dentures are essential along with your natural teeth.

Though dentures can last really long, but it is advised to replace it every 5 years because the shape of our mouth is on a constant change. Often with the slow change of the mouth, denture wearers have managed to keep the denture for more than 5 years, which may cause ill fitted or even broken denture. Discomfort and pain are inevitable in such cases, but with a regular visits, dentist can lessen the pain. To ensure a healthy mouth, maintain a regular dental checkup.

It is better to keep the old denture, after you have replaced with a new set. This old denture will provide valuable information to your dentist, who will create the new set for you.

Wearing Denture – Difficulty Level

It is easy for most of the wearers, however, some may experience sore spots, speech problems, and eating issues. Medical conditions like stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease may cause difficulty that needs specialist help.

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