Dental care plays an important role in maintaining good oral health, good overall health, and a good quality of life in your senior years. With regular checkups and cleanings, diligent homecare, and restorative dentistry, seniors can enjoy optimal oral health throughout their lives. In fact, today’s seniors are retaining their natural teeth longer than in any previous time in history. To learn more about dental care for seniors, contact our Staten Island, NY practice.
Diligent Daily Home Care
People should start having their teeth cleaned when they are infants, right after the first tooth erupts. As we age, however, daily brushing and flossing become increasingly important. As a senior, you need to brush your teeth twice a day, morning and evening, using fluoridated toothpaste. Floss at least once a day. If using floss is difficult for you, purchase a value-pack of inexpensive handheld flossers, with the floss pre-stretched across two tines. These disposable flossers make flossing much easier, particularly for people with arthritis or who have trouble with motor skills.
In addition, you can use a tongue scraper to remove plaque and bacteria from the tongue. Add an antibacterial mouthwash to boost the effectiveness of your daily dental homecare routine. If you wear a removable prosthetic, be sure to follow the dentist’s instructions for proper care and maintenance.
Many seniors suffer from dry mouth, due to damaged salivary glands or side effects of medications. If you have dry mouth, your risk for tooth decay, halitosis, and gum disease increase. Ask the dentist or hygienist about using artificial saliva, available at pharmacies and supermarkets.
Preventive Dental Care
You should visit the dentist at least every six months, or more often if advised. Your checkups and cleanings provide time for us to evaluate the health of your teeth, gums, soft oral tissues, head, neck, and jaws. We’ll also evaluate your dental fillings, crowns, bridges, and prosthetics to make sure they’re holding up well. If you suffer from dry mouth, gum recession, or gum disease, we’ll offer appropriate treatment to reduce or eliminate painful symptoms and improve your oral health.
Gum disease affects 86 percent of people over age 70, and of those, 25 percent have lost all of their teeth. If you have gum disease, your risk for many other systemic health conditions is heightened. You may develop diabetes complications, heart problems, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, arthritis, respiratory problems, or other associated conditions. Treatment for gum disease is available in our dental office, and we will advise you as to the best course of action if you show signs of the chronic, progressive condition. By treating gum disease, we’ll reduce your risk for associated health problems and improve your oral health.
Nearly all seniors have had, need, or will need restorative dental care. Restorative dentistry includes fillings, crowns, bridges, implants, partial and full dentures, root canal therapy, bonding, and treatment for bruxism or TMJ disorder. Whether you need a new concern addressed for the first time, or you need replacement restorations, addressing dental health problems with restorative dental care is important to maintaining good quality of life, as well as good oral health. Most dental problems will not resolve naturally. They require intervention by a professional. So, if you need dental care, don’t postpone your visit with Dr. Hecht.
Learn More about Senior Dental Care
Taking good care of your teeth and gums will serve you well in the years to come. You’ll feel better about your appearance, and you’ll enjoy better health and higher quality of life. We want to partner with you to make sure your oral health gets the attention it deserves. Call us today to schedule a checkup or consultation with Dr. Hecht.