Although the importance of oral health is as good as general health, the complications associated with the former are more severe and different with advances in age. We all are provided with only one set of permanent teeth and hence it becomes vital to maintain them throughout our life. But unfortunately, due to ill practices and unhealthy lifestyle habits, a substantial percentage of us fail to maintain oral hygiene and thereby, lose natural teeth. Moreover, it should be borne in the mind that poor oral hygiene can pave way for heart problems, pneumonia, diabetes and other life threatening illness. Some of the common oral problems and their treatment methodologies and preventive techniques to achieve good dental care for senior citizens are listed below:
Good oral habits: The first step towards keeping gums and teeth healthy is by brushing twice a day with good fluoridated toothpaste and flossing at least once in a day. Remember, fluorides are good choice for fighting against cavity and offers assistance in maintaining good oral hygiene.
Regular dental check-ups: It is utmost necessary for every senior citizen to visit dentist for routine check-up and professional cleaning, as additional issues pop up in senior years. It is a known fact that general health conditions and medications have a toll on oral health and the only possible way to address these issues is through regular visits to a professional dentist.
Sensitivity: Sensitivity is another crucial issue that always nags when one age. As the gum line recedes, teeth that are not protected by the enamel surface become prone to sensitivity to both hot or cold food and beverages. Although it is quite possible to address this complication through anti-sensitive toothpaste, it would be a wise decision to approach a dentist, as sensitivity may be a symptom of a complicated problem such as cavity or any other defect in tooth.
Dry mouth: The probability of dry mouth condition is very high for senior citizens and the reason being the side effect of medications. Presence of good amount of pH controlled saliva is very essential to retard the growth of bacteria in mouth. As dry mouth is the end result of absence or limited production of saliva, it needs immediate attention.
Gum diseases: Gum diseases or periodontal diseases are one of the major oral complications faced by the people once they reach their advanced ages. Fortunately, the onset of gum diseases can altogether be avoided through good oral hygiene. There are numerous factors that contribute towards the occurrence of periodontal complications:
- Poor diet habits
- Bad oral hygiene
- Side effects of medications
- Medical conditions such as diabetes and heart problems
It should be borne in the mind that if proper treatments are availed at the initial stages of the gum diseases, the chances of reversing the effects are quite good.
Clean dentures: Many senior citizens wear full or partial dentures in order to achieve functional requirement. But the problem arises when these dentures are not cleaned properly. It is very essential to follow these practices to achieve good oral care for the senior citizens with dentures:
- Dentures should be properly cleaned only with the prescribed cleaners and never with ordinary tooth paste or any other household cleaners.
- To maintain the healthiness of dental lining, it is highly beneficial to remove dentures atleast for four hours a day or as prescribed by your dentists.
- Good food habits
- Good diet plays a huge role in maintaining a flawless dental care. Fresh fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, low fat dairy products are good choices to maintain good oral care. In general, it is better to avoid processed foods that are loaded with sugar, which has the potential to contribute towards cavity formation.