While the prevalence of total and partial tooth loss in senior citizens has dropped over the past few decades, people over the age of 65 years old still have lost an average of 13 teeth and approximately one in four seniors have no teeth left. Whether taking care of dentures or their natural teeth, senior citizens can often contend with a host of oral concerns, such as periodontal disease and root decay.
Adapting a Regular Toothbrush or Looking for Alternatives
If you have limited use of your hands or deal with arthritis, a toothbrush can be adapted for easier use. Try gluing the toothbrush handle into a bike grip or inserting the handle into a sponge hair curler or a rubber ball. The handle also can be lengthened with things like a tongue depressor, ruler, or the stick from an ice cream bar.
Other people can’t use a traditional toothbrush because of issues with dexterity. In this situation, an electric toothbrush might be a good alternative, as it will be likely easier to use and increase the effectiveness of brushing. As a bonus, multiple studies show that electric brushes excel at removing excess plaque and stimulating the gums.
Plus, don’t forget about flossing, an important step that often gets overlooked. Widely available, floss holders can help you to remove all the pesky food particles stuck between your teeth.
Brushing and flossing on a daily basis helps to protect seniors from two common oral problems. Tooth decay happens the when the teeth or older fillings weaken or chip away, and root decay occurs when too much of the root surfaces are exposed.
Cleaning and Care for Dentures
Dentures—be it partial or full—need to be brushed daily with a denture cleaning brush or a soft toothbrush. Brush the dentures inside and out and rinse them thoroughly with cool water. Never, ever use an abrasive household cleaner on them. This can be toxic. Instead, use hand soap, baking soda, or a commercially prepared denture paste or powder. Also, brush the gums and remaining natural teeth, paying special attention to teeth that support a partial denture.
When the dentures are not in your mouth, they should be covered with a denture cleaning solution or water to prevent them from drying out.
Keep a Healthy Senior Smile
By keeping a routine of proper oral care and going regularly to the dentist, you can keep your senior smile healthy. The experienced dentists and staff at Hall and Butterfield Family Dentistry can take care of all your dental care needs, from fillings, to dentures and partials, to extractions and root canals, to periodontal disease and more. Contact us today if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment: http://hallbutterfielddentistry.com/contact/.