5 Oral Health Tips for Seniors
Oral health is important no matter your age. It’s not just a part of maintaining a beautiful smile, but also a crucial element in overall wellness and quality of life. The health of your body and the health of your mouth are connected, and both require ongoing care. This is especially true for our older patients. Aging certainly doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to dentures…with proper care, your teeth can last a lifetime. However, there are additional concerns that come up for patients over 60. To learn more, here are 5 tips from Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos.
1. Watch Out For Cavities As You Age
As we age, we become more prone to cavities. Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is often the cause and is a side effect of many medications. Saliva is one of your mouth’s best defenses against tooth decay. Be sure to tell Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos about any medications you are taking or if you are experiencing dry mouth. They will have recommendations for how to restore moisture and work with you to help keep your mouth healthy.
2. Share Your Medical History with Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos
We are a part of your health care team. Beyond sharing what medications you are taking, it is important to share any medical conditions such as heart conditions. In such cases, Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos may recommend antibiotic prophylaxis, which is taking antibiotics prior to a dental procedure. We all have bacteria in our mouths, but for people with certain conditions when that bacteria enters the bloodstream it can cause infection elsewhere in the body. Talk to Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos if you have any questions or concerns about the interactions between your medical conditions and oral care.
3. Cosmetic Procedures Are For Patients of Every Age!
If you are self-conscious about your smile or wish you could improve the look of your teeth, let us know! There are several cosmetic options for patients of any age that can dramatically improve your smile. Examples include:
- Veneers: These can be done on aging teeth can help patients have more confidence in their smiles.
- Teeth Whitening: This works on natural teeth and can make teeth look more youthful. Please note that whitening does not work on crowns.
- Orthodontics: There are options that exist as long as teeth have good bone support. Our teeth become more crowded as we age which can result in some teeth becoming crooked over time.
4. Let Us Know if Your Dentures Are Loose
There have been many advances in recent years to help people with loose dentures. If you have discomfort or concerns about the fit of your dentures, talk to Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos. They can discuss possible choices for you such as implants which help dentures have a tighter fit, or implant-support bridges. The point is, there are options and we are here to help!
5. Don’t Forget Your Oral Health Care Basics
It’s important for all our patients, especially those over 60 to follow our recommended oral health care regimen: brush twice daily, floss daily, and schedule regular appointments with FDA. We hear from some patients with arthritis that brushing can be a literal pain. We recommend an electric toothbrush to help get to all parts of your teeth while limiting your arm movement. We also like to remind our patients to include healthy diet as part of their oral health care. For example older patients need to make sure they are getting enough calcium–not just from supplements, but from dairy products and leafy greens to support teeth health.
Thank you Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos! If you have more questions about your oral health or need to schedule an appointment, please give us a call at 207.781.5900. Our entire staff is dedicated to providing you with the most caring and comfortable environment possible while also providing top quality dental care for all ages.
*Image courtesy of www.cdc.gov