Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Healthy Dental Habits for Adults Over 60

It was once believed that people would lose their natural teeth as they aged. Nowadays, dental experts know that aging doesn't necessarily lead to tooth loss. As medical advancements continue to evolve, people are keeping their natural teeth well into their 50s, 60s and beyond. However, aging adults do require some special dental care in order to maintain a healthy smile.

Here are a few tips for dental care after 60:

Brush and Floss Daily - Although this applies to people at just about any stage of life, it is especially important for older adults. People over 60 are more susceptible to cavities. One of the reasons is dry mouth, which is a common side effect of many prescription medications.

Clean Dentures - Daily Bacteria can stick to dentures just as it sticks to natural teeth. Whether you wear full or partial dentures, be sure you are cleaning them daily with a cleaner specifically made for dentures. The American Dental Association (ADA) also recommends removing your dentures for at least four hours every 24 hours in order to keep the lining of your mouth healthy.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly - This is another bit of advice that applies to everyone, but is particularly important to seniors. As we age, the nerves in our teeth actually become smaller and less sensitive. This means that if you wait until you feel pain, it could be too late. An untreated cavity could lead to the loss of a tooth. In addition to checking for cavities, your dentist will also screen you for oral cancer and gum disease.

Quit Smoking - Again, people of all ages should take this piece of advice, but senior citizens who smoke are especially prone to dental problems. Smoking increases problems with gum disease, tooth decay and tooth loss. It can also hinder the healing process after dental surgery and may decrease the success rate of dental implants. Many older adults feel that it's "too late" for them to quit smoking. This is not true. It's NEVER too late to quit! If you need help, talk to your doctor about prescription and non-prescription options to help you quit.

To learn more about dental hygiene and treatments for seniors and patients over 60, please contact Implant and General Dentistry in Raleigh NC at 919-782-0548.

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