The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene for Older Adults

By April 30, 2019Oral Health
The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene for Older Adults

Just because you are getting older does not make you immune to dental issues stemming from poor oral hygiene. In fact, your risk for many dental-related problems increases with age. Prevent problems and pain later with consistent and good oral hygiene now.

There are many reasons that put Older Adults at high-risk for a slew of dental issues:

Inability to Brush

There are seniors that may experience mobility challenges or physical challenges that make it difficult, if not impossible, to brush properly without assistance. It may be particularly tough for those with fine-motor skill impediment to handle the toothbrush.

Forgetfulness

Some seniors may simply forget to brush. Individuals living with dementia may have difficulty completing a task once started, so they may remember to brush but struggle to do it thoroughly and consistently.

Diet

It could be that an illness, allergy, or sensitivity can hinder a senior’s ability to eat a well-rounded, nutritious diet. For instance, some folks may have discomfort digesting fruits and vegetables. It may also be that these healthier, dental-friendly foods are hard for some seniors to chew when experiencing tooth loss, cavities, or sensitivity. When the diet is insufficient, it can lead to vitamin deficiencies that can wreak havoc on your teeth.

Habits

Dental hygiene is even-more important as you age due to a lifetime of habits that could compromise dental health. Have you ever been a smoker? Ever been prone to grinding your teeth? Habits can accumulate into less-than-ideal dental health in later years. It also makes seniors more vulnerable in terms of dental issues and tooth loss.

Some of the dental issues older patients face include:

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is a condition that is uncomfortable and that first manifests in bad breath. Over time, Dry mouth can cause more significant issues due to the bacterial growth that occurs when your mouth becomes too dry.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is the most-common dental issue among Americans and is the number-one reason older people lose their teeth. The infection in your teeth and gums can travel to other areas of the body causing further medical risks and complications.

Mouth Cancer

Regular, routine check-ups are the best way to detect and treat mouth cancer, which is more prevalent as you get older. See your dental provider for an assessment and examination.

Are you at risk for these dental issues? There are tips to help prevent such complications including seeing your dental provider at least once a year. Make sure to brush and floss daily, no matter how old you are, and eat well and drink plenty of water. Contact Crossland Dental Associates today for dental care in Mt Pleasant, SC.