Maintaining good oral health for seniors works a little differently from dental care for younger individuals. Seniors face dental care concerns that their younger counterparts are much less likely to encounter. Adults over 55 are more likely to experience darkened teeth, receding gums, sensitivity, dry mouth, gum disease, cavities, and other dental issues. Unfortunately, retirement often means the loss of dental insurance coverage, and Medicare doesn’t cover most dental procedures. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t dental care options for seniors and ways for them to maintain their dental health.
Maintaining Dental Health for Seniors
Prevention is the first step in maintaining good oral health for seniors. Adults over 55 should continue to brush twice a day as well as floss and rinse with antibacterial mouthwash daily. Seniors should also make sure to use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash to help protect aging teeth. This can prevent gum disease, an oral health problem for individuals of any age, from setting in and causing tooth loss. Contrary to popular belief, tooth loss is not simply a part of getting older. In fact, with proper care, it is possible for seniors to spend their golden years with most, if not all, of their original teeth. Seniors can also prevent tooth loss by discussing other oral health issues, such as dry mouth and attrition (wear and tear of teeth), with their dentist, whom they should continue to see twice a year.
Older adults should also avoid foods and habits that can contribute to tooth decay, even more than their younger counterparts. Elderly individuals should try to avoid sugar-rich foods to limit bacterial growth and gum disease. In addition, they should avoid tobacco and alcohol. Not only can these lead to gum disease, but tobacco also increases the risk of developing oral cancer. Ignoring signs of dental health issues can also cause further worsening of otherwise reversible problems. For example, dry mouth is not only irritating but can also lead to tooth and root decay. Seniors should talk to their doctor about any medications that cause dry mouth, or they should talk to their dentist about how to combat dry mouth.
Maintaining dental health for seniors sometimes also requires taking care of dentures. Denture-wearers should be sure to clean and properly care for their dentures daily to prevent bacterial build-up. Flossing any implants to hold partials in place is also an important aspect of denture care. Changes in the way dentures fit can also be a sign of periodontal disease, so seniors should pay attention to any shifts or differences.
Affordable Dental Care for Seniors
If you’re looking for affordable dental services for seniors, you have a number of options available to you. There are a variety of federal, state, and volunteer programs available to aid seniors in getting the dental care they need. In addition, many dentists, including the Acworth Center for Family Dentistry, offer discount plans and financing options to help lower the overall cost of dentistry. For more information on our discount and financing plans, click here. When you’re ready to discuss our dental care options for seniors, call (770) 203-1711 or fill out this online form to schedule an appointment.