According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a whopping 96% of people over the age of 65 have a cavity. Furthermore, 1 in 5 have untreated tooth decay. So, if you think oral hygiene is a young man’s game, think again! Here are three reasons dental care is important for seniors, as well as what you can do to care for your smile as you age.
So, Why Is Dental Care So Important for Seniors?
Here’s why the condition of your oral health is important, no matter how old you are:
- Your oral health affects your overall well-being – In short, an infection in your mouth can easily spread throughout your body via your bloodstream. That’s why patients with conditions like gum disease are more likely to experience health problems like cardiovascular disease and respiratory infections.
- Your oral health impacts your bite – If your teeth aren’t strong and healthy, then you’ll likely experience some discomfort as you chew. This can restrict your diet, making it extremely difficult to get all of the nutrients you need.
- Your oral health influences your confidence – You deserve to feel confident at every age! Naturally, that can be quite difficult if you’re struggling with brittle teeth, bad breath, inflamed gums, and other oral health problems.
How To Care for Your Teeth as You Age
Although tooth loss continues to be a prevalent concern for seniors, you can keep your natural teeth intact with the right best practices in place. That starts with a commitment to brushing. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste, brush your teeth for a full two minutes each morning and evening. Flossing daily, rinsing with mouthwash regularly, and visiting your dentist every six months are equally as important too.
There are also a few senior-specific oral hygiene tips that can help along the way:
- Use an oral irrigator if you have trouble using traditional floss
- Eat a well-balanced diet filled with nutrient-dense foods
- Limit your intake of foods and beverages with added sugar
- Talk to your dentist about any medications that result in dry mouth
- Visit your dentist every six months for a dental checkup and cleaning
- Quit unhealthy dental habits, like smoking
Of course, your greatest ally when it comes to your oral health is your dental team. With a knowledge of your dental history, your oral health needs, and your smile goals, they can help you keep your smile beautiful and your bite strong throughout the years!