Did you know that as you age, you are more prone to developing oral health problems? According to the CDC, 68 percent of adults over the age of 65 have some form of gum disease, and 20 percent have lost all their natural teeth. Thankfully, getting older doesn’t have to mean numerous tooth extractions and excessive cavities. Our dentist in Largo, Florida has developed some tips that will help you reduce the risk of cavities, gum disease, and tooth extractions as you move through your senior years.
1. Brush with an ADA Approved Toothpaste and Toothbrush
As a senior, it’s even more important for you to choose a high-quality toothpaste and dental floss that carries the ADA seal of approval. ADA approved oral hygiene products have been rigorously tested for safety and effectiveness when used properly. Our dentist recommends using a toothpaste that contains fluoride in order to help keep your enamel strong and prevent cavities. If you are having trouble brushing your teeth due to dexterity problems in your hands, it may be time to switch from a manual to an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes do the brushing for you so that all you have to worry about is angling the toothbrush correctly so that you reach all the surfaces of your teeth as well as your gum line. If you have oral appliances, like fixed bridges, it’s important to spend a little extra time around the areas where the bridge is affixed to your natural teeth.
2. Floss with an ADA Approved Standard Floss or Flossing Device
When it comes to choosing the right floss, we typically recommend waxed standard floss or floss tape that’s flavored or unflavored. If you have trouble using regular floss, you can use floss picks. They floss for you so that all you have to do is insert it between your teeth, as they resemble tiny pipe cleaners. In addition to using a floss product, you can also try an oral irrigator, which sprays a stream of water into your mouth to help clean between your teeth. Of course, if you choose to use an oral irrigator, you will still need to floss with regular floss at least once every 24 hours.
3. Make Sure Your Dental Appliances Are Clean and Sanitary
If you have dental appliances, including full and partial dentures, removable or fix bridges, dental crowns, or dental implants, you will need to make sure they are clean and sanitary. This is because dental appliances and fixed or removable false teeth can harbor bacteria and increase your chances of developing gum disease and cavities. If your oral appliances are removable, you will still need to brush them at least once a day and soak them overnight in the appropriate cleaning and sanitizing solution. If your dental appliances are fixed, you’ll need to brush them thoroughly, paying particular attention to where they attach to your other teeth. In the case of dental implants, you simply need to brush and floss them like your natural teeth.
4. Visit Our Dentist at Least Twice a Year
As a senior, it’s even more important that you visit a dentist at least twice a year. If you have certain health conditions, current, or previous diagnoses of gum disease, you may need to visit our dentist in Largo more often to make sure bacteria isn’t colonizing in your gums and creating further problems. Regular dental checkups and teeth cleanings can spot signs of gingivitis and periodontal disease before they result in the need for tooth extractions and bone and gum tissue loss. These visits also give you a chance to ask questions about improved oral hygiene practices as you age, any tooth or gum pain you may be experiencing, and how to care for your dental appliances, like full and partial dentures and bridges. If you are missing one or more teeth, we can recommend the right tooth replacement for you, including dental implants in Largo, FL.
To schedule your next senior dental cleaning with our dentist in Largo and to improve your oral health and wellness, give us a call at 727-581-1869.