10 Easy Tips for Seniors to Improve Dental Hygiene
October is National Dental Hygiene Month!
To help you keep your smile healthy, we’ve put together a list of tips that you might not know about to help you improve your dental hygiene and oral health. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
Tip #1: You can brush your teeth too often
Most of the time, we hear dentists reminding us to brush enough. But it’s possible to brush your teeth too often. Over brushing can lead to increased tooth sensitivity, enamel damage and even gum recession.
Colgate recommends waiting at least 60 minutes after eating to brush your teeth to avoid dental abrasion. Talk with your dentist about your brushing schedule if you have any questions, but the consensus is that 2x a day for 2 minutes each is sufficient.
Tip #2: Antiseptic mouthwash can help with gum health
Antiseptic mouthwash is used to kill any unwanted guests in your mouth, like plaque and bacteria that causes gum disease. Those nasty little things can cause cavities, gum recession and bad breath. Switching to an antiseptic mouthwash is an easy way to improve your dental hygiene.
Tip #3: Your blood sugar affects your mouth health
Diabetes is a serious health condition in all areas of your health and your mouth is no exception. 22% of diabetics will be diagnosed with periodontal disease, according to research from the American Dental Association.
Periodontal disease affects your gums, your teeth, your jawbone and all the connective tissue between your teeth and gums. Keeping an eye on your blood sugar levels can help prevent those issues even if you are not diagnosed with diabetes.
Tip #4: Watch for dental side effects from medications
Your medications might be causing dental issues, especially as you age. Dry mouth, one of the most common dental side effects, can lead to hygiene issues. Having a dry mouth makes it easier for plaque to adhere to teeth and lead to cavities and gum disease.
A dry mouth can also increase halitosis, or bad breath. When you are prescribed a new medication, make sure you review side effects with your physician.
Tip #5: Hydrate
Just like with medications, dehydration leads to a dry mouth. One of the easiest ways you can improve your dental health is making sure you’re drinking enough water.
Take a cue from the kids and carry around a reusable water bottle when you’re out and about and consider limiting caffeine and sugared drink consumption, as both lead to dehydration.
Tip #6: Monitor your sugar intake
Turns out your parents were right; sugar really does rot your teeth.
When you eat too much sugary foods and drinks, you’re basically giving the plaque the tools to destroy your teeth. Cutting back even a little can help you avoid cavities and plaque buildup.
Tip #7: Consider a calcium supplement
Osteoporosis is a disease that affects bone density in older people, especially women. To help bone loss, talk to your doctor about adding a calcium supplement to your routine.
Calcium strengthens bones and your teeth and jaw are all bones. Many seniors don’t get sufficient calcium in their diets and a supplement can help you fight osteoporosis and keep your smile bright.
Tip #8: Make sure you use the right toothbrush
You should be using a soft bristled toothbrush and replacing it every 3-4 months. The rule I use is to buy a new toothbrush every time I need a new tube of toothpaste. There are a lot of different toothbrush options on the market, with manual and electric being popular options.
The right one for you is a matter of preference in most cases, but your dentist can help you find a good option if you have any questions.
Tip #9: Get tested for sleep apnea
If your partner complains about you snoring, it’s time to get tested for sleep apnea. That snoring is the least of your concerns, as sleep apnea contributes to high blood pressure, increased stroke risk and fatigue. But it can also be why you have bad breath.
Snoring means you’re sleeping with your mouth open, which leads to dryness. If you wake up with some serious morning breath, you may have been snoring!
Tip #10: Talk to your dentist about mobility aids
As we get older, it can be harder to perform basic tasks. Brushing and flossing your teeth might be hard for you because of conditions such as arthritis, gout or decreased mobility.
Fortunately, your dental hygiene does not have to be hard. There are mobility aids and options for seniors. Talk with your dentist and find something that works for you.
Maintaining your dental hygiene doesn’t have to be hard. There are lots of simple things you can do to improve the health of your smile.
The most important things you can do is maintain a daily dental routine and keep up to date on your dental visits. Everything else builds on that foundation.
If you like learning about simple ways to improve your health, then you will love our free email newsletter. We give practical advice that can help you in your everyday life. Sign up today!
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