We talk a lot about aging these days. Often, our conversations related to this topic revolve around the innovative ways we can have more control over the issues that may arise as we grow older. The fact of the matter is, the body will always age; it’s a biological fact that we cannot change. Fortunately, we can manage our unique aging process. One way to do this is to get familiar with the needs we have as the body changes. Let’s look at the smile as an example.
Historically, aging has meant tooth discoloration. It has meant frequent dental problems and even tooth loss. In the past century, advances in awareness, hygiene, and dentistry have afforded us the ability to reduce these consequences. If age-related concerns do arise, we usually have more than one way to address them. Here, what we would like to discuss is how the older adult can handle oral care as needs and abilities change.
Oral Care Tips for Older Adults
By mid-life and beyond, most adults have established a routine that involves brushing their teeth every day. Ideally, teeth are also flossed every night before bed. These two habits are the cornerstone of good oral health and should not be skipped or rushed. According to research, adults aged 50 and older may find that plaque and tartar become especially problematic (and 50 isn’t even considered “senior). This means that daily care takes on new importance. To sustain teeth and gums, though, little extra help may be needed. We suggest:
- Using a sonic or electric toothbrush to reduce excessive hand movements. Many older adults complain of stiffness and pain in the hands that limits dexterity. A powered toothbrush can aid in the performance of oral care.
- Flossing tools are also beneficial for optimal performance. For example, a Water Pik or flossing tool eliminates the need to hold a string of floss between the fingers.
- Denture wearers are not in the clear when it comes to oral care. Daily cleaning is vital to the prevention of gum disease and bacterial imbalance in the mouth.
Your dentist in Palm Beach Gardens is an excellent resource for information and direct support. Call Lerner & Lemongello at (561) 627-9000 to schedule your visit with us.