Maintaining a healthy smile in our senior years is easy with proper care and treatment. General dentistry treatments and regular maintenance play a pivotal role in senior dental care. Keep your smile at its best with these senior dental care tips and treatments from Jefferson City dentist Talva Grundstrom Joost.
Senior Dental Care
It is best to start practicing good oral hygiene habits early in life. However, it's never too late to get on the right track. Practicing good dental care in our senior years is particularly important as our teeth become more vulnerable to damage as a result of the general wear and tear caused by aging. Here are some tips to help seniors enjoy a healthy smile.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day: Brush your teeth at least twice a day, everyday, to reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Brush for a full two minutes: In order to properly clean your teeth during brushing, you should brush for a minimum of two minutes at a time. Also, use small strokes and hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle when cleaning along to the gum line to allow the bristles to reach as far as possible.
Floss your teeth at least once a day: Flossing is highly effective at reducing the risk of gum disease and should be done a minimum of once a day.
Use an antiseptic mouthwash: Rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash after flossing and brushing can also greatly reduce the risk of gum disease, helping senior's maintain a healthy smile.
See your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings: Regular dental exams are key to catching dental issues early, when they're most easily treated, and professional cleanings provide a level of cleanliness even the best at home brushing and flossing can't achieve.
Denture wearers still need to practice oral hygiene: Seniors who wear dentures may think it's fine to neglect oral hygiene since they no longer have their natural teeth, but this couldn't be farther from the truth. Denture wearers who don't clean their mouths are prone to oral yeast infections and other gum issues. Denture wearers should brush their dentures with denture cleaner or mild dish soap and brush their gums and tongue with toothpaste, everyday.
Dental Care Treatments for Seniors
Seniors may experience a range of dental issues as a result of years of poor oral hygiene or simply from general wear caused by aging. Regardless of the reason for treatment, there are a variety of options available restore senior oral health and rejuvenate the smile's appearance.
Professional teeth whitening: The teeth are not immune to the aging process, generally becoming yellowed over time. Professional teeth whitening can lift years of staining in a single treatment.
Gum disease treatment: Gum disease is a common problem for senior patients, leading to severe oral health issues like tooth decay and tooth loss. Mild to moderate gum disease can be treated with root planing and scaling while more severe disease may require surgical treatment, like the flap procedure.
Tooth-colored fillings: Tooth-colored fillings can be used to replace old metal fillings or treat new cavities, improving dental health while seamlessly blending with the surrounding teeth for a flawless finish.
Porcelain veneers: Minor chips or cosmetic issues, like severe discoloration, gaps between teeth, or mildly crooked teeth, can be corrected with porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are thin, tooth-shaped restoration that cover the front surface of the teeth to mask flaws or repair minor damage.
Dental crowns: In many cases, moderate to severe dental damage, such as broken teeth or teeth with large dental fillings, can be corrected with dental crowns. Dental crowns are tooth-shaped “caps” that fit over a damaged tooth, restoring strength, structure, and appearance.
Dental implants: Missing teeth are a common dental problem for seniors. Dental implants offer a permanent solution to replacing an individual tooth or multiple teeth. Dental implants may be paired with dental crowns to replace individual teeth, or they can be paired with dentures to replace a full set of teeth.