Contrary to what most of us would expect, getting older puts us at greater risk for dental problems—erosion of tooth enamel, receding gums, loss of jawbone, for example. The longer we have our natural teeth, the more we expose them to the elements that can cause tooth decay as well.
There are several reasons why seniors may be prone to more dental cavities:
- Difficulty brushing and flossing
- Not enough fluoride
- Gum disease
- Dry mouth
- Poor diet
Seniors can stay cavity-free by following a diet low in sugar and high in calcium and using fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinse. Drinking water, sucking on sugar-free candy or chewing sugarless gum promotes saliva production and reduces dry mouth.
If you have dexterity problems, try wrapping tape or an elastic bandage around your toothbrush. If a wider grip is needed, try taping a tennis ball, sponge or rubber bicycle grip to the handle. An electric toothbrush may also be helpful for those who cannot maneuver a manual toothbrush easily. Floss holders and waxed floss can make it easier to continue your oral hygiene routine.
Of course, regular dental visits are still essential. At Angell’s Dentistry, Dr. Douglas Angell and our dental hygienists will use these visits to check for the dental problems that affect older patients, including cavities, gum disease, root decay and oral cancer. Just give our office a call to schedule an appointment, and be sure to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com.