Oral care is essential for elderly patients, and advanced age can put elderly patients at risk of many different conditions, such as:
Denture Stomatitis – An inflammation of the tissue underneath a denture, usually when the denture is ill-fitting and in the presence of plaque and yeast accumulation.
Gum Disease – Caused by plaque and tartar accumulation, the gum and bone level recedes away from the teeth leading to inflammation and loose teeth. Certain medical conditions can also contribute to gum diseases like diabetes and anemia.
Tooth Loss – Resulting from advanced gum disease
Loss of Jaw Bone – Caused by missing teeth, the jaw bone recedes away when a tooth is lost as there is no longer anything to support it in place.
Dry Mouth – Caused by certain medical conditions such as Sjogren’s Syndrome, side effects of many medications such as blood pressure medication and a side effect of some cancer treatments
Reduced Taste – Due to dry mouth, certain medications and ageing
Thrush – The overgrowth of fungus, usually on the roof of the mouth, caused by some medical conditions and medications
Darkened Teeth – Caused by thinning of the enamel and the appearance of the underlying dentin, as well as from a lifetime of consuming stain-causing foods and drinks
Oral Hygiene Tips for the Elderly
- Brushing twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride
- Use a toothbrush with a more oversized handle if hand dexterity/ arthritis is a problem
- Floss at least once a day
- Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash at least once a day that doesn’t contain alcohol as alcohol dries out the mouth
- Clean any dentures or removable appliances well and take them out every night
- Visit the dentist and dental hygienist regularly for cleanings and check-ups
What To Expect During a Dental Visit
- The face and neck will be checked
- The oral tissues will be checked for abnormalities in shape, colour, etc.
- X-rays may be recommended to check the health of the teeth and any current restorative work
- Check over teeth and gums for health
- Check dentures or appliances, if any, for fit and function
- Cleaning of all the teeth, gums, and appliances
If you have any questions about dental care for the elderly, we encourage you to contact us to schedule an appointment today.