Senior’s Guide to Dental Care

seniors guide to dental care

seniors guide to dental careServing patients of Erwin, Jonesborough, and Greeneville TN

As the years go by, life gets busier, it seems. Then, retirement comes, and you reprioritize your life, and often, dental care seems to find its way towards the bottom of the list. Your Greeneville dentists Drs. Craig Shepard and Nathanial Renner from Tusculum Dental Care want you to know that taking care of your teeth is important from day one to 101. Check out our senior’s guide to dental care to make sure you keep your mouth healthy as you age.

You often hear about how important it is for children to receive dental care, but taking care of your teeth and gums is just as important as you age. For many seniors, their dental care and at-home oral hygiene efforts seem to fall to the wayside either through their inability to get to the dentist or they physically struggle to brush and floss their teeth well.

Dealing with dry mouth

Dry mouth is a normal part of aging, but also comes as a side effect of medications that are most often prescribed to seniors for medical conditions, such as asthma, high blood pressure, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, pain, and high cholesterol. If you experience dry mouth, talk to your dentist about ways to relieve symptoms, and protect your oral health.

But, you can try these recommendations from the American Dental Association:

  • Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth lubricated.
  • Ask your dentist about a moisturizing spray, mouth rinse, or over-the-counter treatment that you can use.
  • Ask your physician about changing your medication or dosage.
  • Use a humidifier to moisten the air, especially at night.
  • Chew sugar-free gum, or lozenges to help stimulate saliva production.
  • Avoid foods and drinks that dry out the mouth, such as coffee, soft drinks, acidic juices, and alcoholic beverages.

Fighting cavities and gum disease

Children seem to be the most at-risk group for developing cavities, but seniors aren’t far behind. Protect your teeth from developing tooth decay by committing to a dental hygiene regimen at home. Brush your teeth twice a day, and remember to floss daily. While using string floss may be difficult for some, especially if you deal with joint inflammation or mobility issues, there are other products on the market, such as water flossers or pick flossers that do the trick and are much easier to use.

Along with your at-home dental hygiene routine, be sure that you continue visiting the dentist twice a year for dental cleanings. This is the only way to remove that stuck on plaque that forms on your teeth. Skipping out on these dental visits increases your risk of gum disease, which is the leading cause of lost teeth among adults. Aging adults tend to think there is no use in keeping the teeth they’ve got by this point in life, but the truth is, you need them just as much today as you did when you were younger. Teeth help you articulate your speech and aid in digesting your food. Without teeth, your food choices would be limited, and you could end up with a nutritional deficiency. If you have a missing tooth, ask your dentist about the best tooth replacement option for you. Replacing missing teeth can help you look younger, improve your self-confidence, and allows you to enjoy food again without compromise.

Dental Care for Seniors in Greeneville

If you would like to learn more ways to protect your oral health as you age or to schedule a consultation, please contact Tusculum Dental Care by calling (423) 639-7575. We welcome patients of Erwin, Greeneville, and Jonesborough, Tennessee.