Dental Care Checklist – Seniors
Even if you’ve had a lifetime of professional dental care, it’s never a good idea to stop! You might be paying extra attention to your overall health now; be sure to give your teeth some, too.
√ Visit your dentist regularly. Regular dental exams/checkups and teeth cleanings are just as important as ever — even if you’ve been diligent about brushing and flossing! Remember, regular dental visits can save you money on more expensive dental treatment, including gum disease treatment, in the future.
√ Get professional denture care. Using an over-the-counter denture repair kit is temporary solution at best. If your dentures start to fit funny, be sure to see a dentist for a professional denture reline.
√ Switch to an electric toothbrush if necessary. An electric toothbrush not only makes brushing easier; patients say it makes it fun, too! If arthritis or decreased mobility are an issue, consider switching to an electric or “powered” toothbrush.
√ Consider dental implants to replace missing teeth. Most people think of dentures when they think of missing teeth solutions. But many patients are choosing dental implants to replace missing teeth because they can look and feel more natural than dentures.
Keep an eye on:
Dry Mouth Symptoms — As we age, our mouths tend to produce less saliva, leaving us susceptible to dry mouth syndrome. Certain diseases, like diabetes, and certain medication can also cause dry mouth symptoms. Drinking plenty of water and avoiding salty foods can help. But be sure to consult your dentist and physician about possibly making changes to your medications or diet.
Cavities — Yep, cavities can occur at any age. In fact, if your community’s water system wasn’t fluoridated in your youth, you may be even more vulnerable. That’s why it’s important to keep up those good oral hygiene habits as well see your regular dental visits in your golden years.
Root Decay — Not many people have heard of root decay. Root decay can develop when your gums recede enough to expose your tooth roots as well as the cementum that covers them. After prolonged exposure, your tooth roots can start to develop tooth decay. Signs to look out for include a yellowish tint or “notches” near your gum line.
Tooth Stains — Like cavities, plaque can affect your teeth at any age. Plaque not only hosts decay-causing bacteria but can also stain your teeth (it has a yellowish tinge). To avoid plaque buildup, be sure to brush and floss daily and see your dentist on a regular basis. Also ask your dentist about using a plaque rinse.
Sensitivity to Hot or Cold — Having mild or occasional tooth sensitivity to hot or cold food and beverages is not unusual. But if it persists, it could be a sign of a cracked or broken tooth or even gum disease. The best way to get to the root of the matter is to see your dentist.