As the years go by, life seems to get busier and busier. However, it’s important that your health doesn’t fall by the wayside as you age. And when you consider your health, you should think about your dental health first, because it is a key part of your overall health.
As men and women age, oral health needs do change and specialised care is sometimes called for. Advanced age also contributes to an increased risk for some oral health problems. Because of this it is especially important to adhere to your routine hygiene schedule both at home and with your dentist as you get older.
The good news is that dentists are more prepared than ever to deal with the needs of an aging population, and Glenroy Dental is in the forefront of dental care for mature patients.
In fact, we offer caring, age-aware dental services to patients of ALL ages!
Challenges and Solutions
Some seniors have lost all of their teeth (up to 19% of Australian seniors), but it’s not inevitable that you must lose all of your teeth as you age. With proper oral care, teeth can last a lifetime.
Conditions that come with aging, such as arthritis, can make brushing and flossing difficult. One solution for arthritis is the electric toothbrush, or toothbrushes and interdental tools specifically designed for people with limited mobility/control.
Dry mouth (or xerostomia) is a condition that increases the risks of suffering of tooth decay. Most of the time, dry mouth results as a side-effect of medication. Your dentist can help you determine if your dry mouth is related to medication. You can fight dry mouth in many ways including:
- Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candies to stimulate the flow of saliva
- Limit your caffeine intake
- Don’t use mouthwashes that contain alcohol
- Stop all tobacco use if you smoke or chew tobacco
- Sip water regularly
- Try over-the-counter saliva substitutes
- Try a mouthwash designed for dry mouth — especially one that contains xylitol.
- Avoid using over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants
- Breathe through your nose, not your mouth.
- Add moisture to the air at night with a room humidifier.
Ageing patients may develop problems with digestion, such as gastric reflux and GERD (Gastric Esophageal Reflux Disease). The acids from the stomach are able to erode the tooth structure and cause permanent tooth loss. The best way of fighting the acids in the mouth is to rinse with water regularly.
Tooth decay is another common issue for seniors. One mistake many people make is that they use pain as a method of measuring dental health. But teeth do not hurt until is too late. Additionally, older patients may have decreased nerve sensitivity, which can mask tooth damage.
Tooth Loss can cause other teeth to shift, bone to deteriorate, and the structure of the face to collapse.
Dentures and Care
For patients with few or no teeth, we often recommend dentures. Dentures, of course, come with their own rules.
- Handle dentures with great care.
- Brush and rinse dentures daily, but not with toothpaste. Use a brush with soft bristles that is specifically designed for cleaning dentures. In between brushings, rinse dentures after every meal.
- Clean with a denture cleaner only!
- Take proper care of dentures when not wearing them. Dentures should be placed in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in water. However, if your denture has metal attachments, your dentist can recommend the best methods for caring for your particular denture. Dentures should never be placed in hot water, which can cause them to warp.
Working Together to Keep Your Teeth
As we noted before, tooth loss and poor dental health are not inevitable! With proper and daily oral hygiene, your teeth can last a lifetime! What’s involved? A good oral health routine involves the following measures:
- Clean your teeth twice daily (with a soft-bristled toothbrush);
- Floss each and every day;
- If using false teeth, regularly clean and care for them as directed;
- Eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water;
- Be careful with sticky or hard foods;
- See your Glenroy Dental dentist regularly, at least once every six months.
Your Dental Future with The Glenroy Dental Group
At Glenroy Dental, your overall health and happiness are our ultimate dental goals. We use the most modern technology available and employ the latest dental techniques to ensure that your dental health and appearance are at the highest level. We want you to receive the best possible dental care with no pain or anxiety!
Our offices are conveniently located in the Pascoe Vale Road shopping strip, Glenroy, with ample parking space, we are located within easy walking distance of the Glenroy train station.
Our Special Offer for New Senior Patients
- Exam, Scale & Clean $99
- FREE Dental Implants Consultation