Specific dental problems in elderly patients include dry mouth (more often than not caused by medication), yellow teeth (as a result of dentine changes, but also a natural process that comes with aging), gum disease and distress associated with gum conditions (caused by dentures, unhealthy eating habits, smoking and, last but not least, poor oral hygiene). As most of these conditions have contextual causes, we recommend to our elderly patients to look for a compromise based on a reasonable risks / benefits ratio.
We recommend to our elderly dental patients to focus primarily on a good oral hygiene, as the best solution for optimal maintenance of their dental works. What are the rules of good oral hygiene in this context?
- If you have dentures, make sure you keep them perfectly clean. Clean them after every meal and rinse to make sure no build-ups or deposits ever get to form on the surface, by removing all food debris. Keep in mind that not doing so doesn’t only bring along the discomfort of having something less than clean inside your mouth, but is also prose to cause long term distress.
- There are special dental brushes as well as interdental brushes especially designed to clean the supporting teeth and the large gaps between teeth. They can be very useful when you have to clean areas that are almost out-of-reach with regular brushes. You might prefer having two or several different brushes for different jobs.
- When used with care, gently and regularly, tongue cleaners can seriously improve the quality of breath, keeping the surface of your tongue cleaner. You don’t necessarily need paste when cleaning your tongue, although such products are available. Keep in mind that tongue cleaners are preferable to all-in-one products intended for teeth-cheeks-&tongue use.
- Rinsing is highly important. After eliminating food debris, rinsing significantly reduces bacteria levels.
- Look for any of the following symptoms and go to the dentist as soon as you notice any of them: dental hypersensitivity, moving teeth, any kind of pain, swelling, bruxism, cracking jaws when eating, intense redness of the gums or teeth rapidly and severely turning yellow.
Due to progressively receding gums, the risk of developing dental cavities is higher, as the roots of the teeth are exposed and thus prone to decay; also, some teeth move because of receding gums. It is better to visit your dentist on a regular basis, more often than you used to (every month or every couple of months for regular checkups) and let him of her know about any changes related to your oral cavity.