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How to Enjoy a Healthy Smile through Your Senior Years

Family Dentistry Methuen MA Aging is a natural process that has historically translated to degeneration or degradation. Through the ages, humans have simultaneously sought ways to minimize the impact of aging and also accepted the fact that some things naturally change with age. Just a century ago, one of those changes was that teeth would fail and the smile would become more and more spacious. Today, we realize that we don’t have to accept tooth loss or even poor oral health as a consequence of age. There are strategies that can be instilled at any time to preserve teeth and gums.

Why does this matter?

Seniors, in particular, are encouraged to pay close attention to their oral health and their daily oral care habits. In one study, researchers suggested that plaque and tartar become increasingly problematic after age 50. This isn’t even in the “senior” age category! Imagine what another 15 to 20 years can do!

Dental care is vital for all of us, and it needs to follow suit with our unique needs. Here’s why:

  • Disease in the mouth is linked to disease elsewhere, including the heart and lungs. Research data on oral bacteria and bacteria in the arteries of the heart is so strong that experts now view gum disease as a biomarker for cardiac disease and events like heart attack.
  • In the lungs, bacteria may settle long enough to cause infection and increase a person’s risk of pneumonia.
  • Adults with diabetes face a unique situation in which gum health becomes more difficult to manage due to unregulated blood sugar. At the same time, blood sugar is more unpredictable when gum disease exists.

Specific Strategies for Seniors

At every age, there are certain obstacles that need to be recognized. The roadblocks that affect seniors can be overcome with specific habits:

  • Brush! Seniors should brush their teeth every morning and every night. After nighttime brushing, it is necessary to floss. This can be made easier with a flossing tool or water irrigator.
  • Turn to modern devices. Toothbrushing can become a much easier and efficient practice when an electric or sonic toothbrush is used. These instruments move independently so do not require much effort from the user.
  • Take good care of dentures. It can be easy to forget that dentures need a good level of care, too. Yes, acrylic will not corrode. However, bacteria can accumulate on the denture, and that means a risk for gum disease and bad breath. Dentures should be cleaned daily and with appropriate technique. For instance, brushing dentures with abrasive toothpaste can cause scratches that you can’t see, but that can hold bacteria.

The team at Kalil Dental Associates wants to get to know your smile so we can help you protect it. Call our Windham or Methuen office for assistance.