Dental Care for Seniors: Challenges and Solutions | Kirkland Premier Dentistry
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Dental Care for Seniors: Challenges and Solutions

April 2, 2023

Dental care is something that is to be done all your life. We are taught from a young age to take care of our teeth and gums. We are told to develop healthy oral habits, which include brushing daily, flossing, and avoiding certain foods which can harm our teeth. If you want to maintain the health and radiance of your teeth, this is to be done regularly and as a routine. 

As we age, we become prone to certain oral conditions which can affect the quality of our lives. This is why dental care for seniors is essential to avoid age-related dental issues. 

Seniors deserve to live a healthy and whole life, so dental care for the elderly is a necessity. Seniors need to care for their teeth and gums more than young people do because their teeth are more susceptible to oral diseases. 

Here you are going to find the best tips for senior dental care. You will also find information about the most common dental problems that the elderly can face, along with possible solutions. 

Also Read: Causes Of Bleeding Gums You Should Know

Why Dental Care for Seniors Matters: What Happens If Seniors Don’t Take Care of Their Teeth?

Here are the things that can happen if older adults avoid dental care.

  • Swollen and painful gums which cause problems while eating 
  • Dry mouth, which affects nutrition and speech 
  • Dental cavities 
  • Gingivitis and periodontitis 
  • Bad breath 
  • Loose teeth 
  • Root decay 
  • Negative self-image due to aesthetic problems 

Dental care for seniors can severely affect the general health of the elderly, so it should not be ignored for any reason. 

How to take care of your dental health as a senior citizen? 

Take proper care of your dentures and other removable oral appliances 

Senior dental care often requires the use of dentures. If you already use them, you may be aware that you need to take special care of your dentures. If you are experiencing any issues like pain, you should immediately go to your dentist so that they can look at the problem. It should be noted that seniors should get regular dental checkups to avoid age-related dental issues at least once every year.

Restrict or stop using tobacco products 

Tobacco is the leading cause of dental problems for people all around the world. You may notice that tobacco users suffer from more dental problems compared to those who avoid them Chewing tobacco or smoking tobacco can lead to staining of teeth, tooth decay, and gum problems.

Tobacco is most commonly related to oral cancer, heart ailments, and other health problems, which tend to get serious over time. If you use tobacco, you should talk to your dentist about creating a plan for quitting tobacco. It could be your best decision ever!

Restrict your sugar intake 

Excessive consumption of sugary foods and drinks can directly cause cavities and lead to tooth decay. Dr. Sheena Gaur explains that sugar can even lead to gum disease for many people. Sugar tends to make your teeth vulnerable to cavities and decay.

Make sure you rinse your mouth immediately after you eat anything sugary and brush your teeth afterward. Avoiding excessive sugar can have a major positive impact on your general health, too. 

Drink enough water 

It is common for seniors to take many medications which can lead to a dry mouth. A dry mouth is not a good thing because it can directly contribute to enamel damage and erosion. Talk to your physician about changing your medications or start by keeping yourself more hydrated.

Drinking enough water is great for your overall health and you can confirm this with your doctor as well. It is generally recommended to drink around 64 ounces of water every day for optimum health. However, this figure may be different for different people. Stay hydrated! 

Get regular dental appointments 

If you want to avoid age-related dental issues, you should make sure that you see your dentist frequently or as they recommend. Regular visits to your dentist are the best way to avoid age-related dental problems.

If you avoid dental problems, you may eventually end up in a dental emergency. Make sure you get your teeth cleaned according to the recommendation of your dentist. Your dentist will also educate you about taking care of your teeth as a long-term solution to avoid dental issues that occur with aging. 

Maintain great oral hygiene

It is a great thing to brush your teeth twice a day and especially at night. You should brush your teeth after you eat sugary food as well. The most important time to brush your teeth is before going to sleep at night. Use toothpaste that is recommended by your dentist. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, which does not cause too much friction on your gums and enamel. Ask your dentist about the right way to brush your teeth. 

Floss your teeth regularly and use mouthwash after consulting with your dentist. Most people miss out on an important part of maintaining oral hygiene, which is cleaning the tongue. Make sure you clean your tongue while brushing your teeth.

Dental insurance: Is dental treatment covered for senior citizens 

Regular dental procedures are not covered in most medical plans. However, Emergency Dental Treatments may be covered by Medicare, which is related to emergency medical procedures. For example, a rotting tooth may be removed before another medical procedure which may be affecting your health. 

You have the option of getting private insurance coverage. You may have to see what your dental insurance plan covers and offers. If it covers all the things that you may need coverage for, your investment will be worth the cost you pay. The cost may vary a lot depending on the area where you live. 

Some specific clinics may be a part of a funded program where dental expenses may be covered. You may have to check with your dentist to see if they participate in such programs. 

To get more information about dental treatments for seniors, reach out to us at Kirkland Premier Dentistry. 

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