Bad oral health care can lead to problems regardless of age. However, seniors are more at risk and may need to pay extra care and attention. Some issues that may arise include darkened teeth, dry mouth, thrush, gum disease, and tooth loss. Overall health conditions will also greatly impact an older adult’s oral health.
For seniors, one significant change is the noticeable sensitivity to hot and cold beverages. As gums recede with age, areas of the teeth that are not protected by enamel are exposed thus leading to sensitivity. Dry mouths are another concern. Causes may be due to medication or other health issues but the longer it is left untreated, the more the mouth becomes vulnerable to tooth decay.As we already know, saliva protects teeth by neutralizing acids/plaque.
However, a major consideration for seniors is their underlying health problems. Years of smoking, terrible oral health care, and bad diet can lead to cancer, diabetes, and heart complications. The correlation may not be so obvious at first but scientists have concluded that as is the case with rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease, bacteria that cause periodontal disease can travel the bloodstream and further complicate the existing health condition. Contraindications should also be taken into account when it comes to treatment.
Tips for Seniors
The following pointers should be observed by anyone regardless of age but seniors should at least:
a. Eat healthy. Reduce sugar intake and consume adequate amounts of vegetables.
b. Quit smoking. Smoking is the leading cause of oral and throat cancer. It also increases chancs of developing gum disease.
c. Brush twice a day. Protect your teeth and scrub away the food residue. This also holds true for dentures.
d. Floss once a day. Supplement brushing with flossing.
e. Visit the dentist regularly. Remember that early detection is better than treatments.
As with most things, teaching the value of good oral hygiene and health should start at an early age. By the age of 6 or 7, kids will be able to brush on their own and this is a fantastic opportunity for parents to not only get technical (how to brush) but also why it is important.
We all know that maintaining oral health is vital to our overall health status. Teeth are important for chewing food, for speech, and for maintaining facial structure. Lack of awareness or minimal health care can lead to tooth loss and in the long run will have effects on a person’s nutrient intake, the strength and structure of the jaw bones, and this can be further complicated by feelings of insecurity.
To prevent such a grim future, Total Body Dentistry believes that prevention is a thousand times more effective than expensive treatments and prevention can come in the form of education. Kids, often, are more prone to developing dental caries and gingivitis. In some cases, the condition would only get worse with age.
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of oral health care though, keep in mind that not all kids are similar. Some kids may find brushing and flossing enjoyable while others will find it ghastly. Knowing a child’s strength and limitations is the key. Also, unless, you already trust your child to be handy with the toothbrush – it is best to take the time and show your child the proper way to brush.
Creative approaches to teaching are particularly helpful. You can buy books on dental or general health care that are geared towards kids. Likewise, you can go online and search for any interactive sites on dental health care. Take a lesson from shows such as Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer, those programs are successful in reaching out to kids because they use fun and games to raise kids’ interest.
Another tip is to introduce your kids early to dentists. Early visits to the dentists and adding elements of fun to the visit (think of the dental chair as a magical ride) will make it enjoyable.
Finally, ease your kids into the daily habit of brushing and flossing by getting them gum flavoured toothpastes and toothbrushes with soft bristles. Soft bristled toothbrushes are pleasant and they minimize the risks of damaging a child’s soft and sensitive gums.