When was the last time your senior loved one saw the dentist? If it’s been six months of more you should make an appointment for them to get a dental cleaning and assessment. It’s Dental Hygiene Month and now is the time for seniors to make sure that they are practicing good oral hygiene and to make an appointment with the dentist. Seniors need to pay special attention to their dental hygiene and dental care. Because of factors like aging and the medications that they take almost 96% of seniors have tooth decay. Having dental problems or losing teeth can make it difficult for seniors to eat, and that can raise their risk of becoming malnourished.
Common Senior Dental Issues
There are a lot of factors that can affect a senior’s dental health. Medications that cause dry mouth, natural aging, smoking, and poor oral hygiene are just a few of the things that can cause seniors to develop serious dental issues like:
- Tooth loss
- Gum disease
- Darkened teeth
- Cracked teeth
- Root decay
- Oral infections
- Thrush of the mouth
- Oral Cancer
The best thing that seniors can do to prevent these conditions is practice good oral hygiene daily. Good oral hygiene includes brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash. Getting regular dental checkups and having teeth cleaned at least once a year is also important. Some dentists may recommend that seniors get their teeth cleaned twice a year because seniors sometimes have trouble brushing their teeth well. Professional dental cleanings can help seniors who need a little extra help fighting tooth decay.
Tooth Loss Is Common
According to the CDC one in five seniors has lost all of their natural teeth, and a higher percentage has lost one or more teeth. Getting dentures, implants, or bridges to replace those missing teeth is essential so that seniors can chew properly and speak normally. If your senior loved one has lost teeth and not had them replaced you should make sure they see a dentist soon to assess their condition and suggest ways to restore their teeth. If seniors have extensive tooth loss they may find it difficult to eat and stop eating. They also may stop going out or socializing if they are missing teeth and are embarrassed about their smile.
Preventing Dental Problems
Seniors often have trouble with personal care like brushing their teeth as they get older. Seniors who have conditions that affect their grip strength or ability to use their hands like arthritis may not be able to hold a toothbrush or put toothpaste on it. They also may be unable to lift a bottle of mouthwash. But help with personal care like brushing teeth is available for seniors. A home care provider can help seniors brush and floss and keep up with a good oral hygiene routine so that seniors can keep their mouths and teeth healthy. A home care provider can also help seniors who can’t drive get to the dentist for dental cleanings and regular checkups.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering In-Home Care in Cannon Hill Neighborhood, WA please contact the caring staff at Angel Senior Care today at (509) 326-4357.