A healthy smile at any age requires a commitment to maintaining proper dental care, but this is especially true in our senior years. As we age, our teeth are more prone to damage because they have sustained a lifetime of wear and tear. Fortunately, restorative dentistry treatments can repair dental damage and restore appearance. Read this overview from San Antonio dentist Chris Reger to learn more about dental care for seniors.
Dental Care Tips for Seniors
Seniors often face more dental challenges than younger patients, making it particularly important for seniors to practice proper dental care. Seniors should follow these dental care tips to keep their smiles healthy and happy.
- Floss everyday: Flossing is one of the most effective ways to prevent gum disease and decay between teeth. You should floss at least once everyday. Make sure you're flossing properly by sweeping the floss up and down along all sides of every tooth and as far along the gum line as possible.
- Brush properly: Though most people know they should brush at least twice a day, every day, many seniors have developed improper brushing habits over the years. Using proper technique when brushing allows for more effective cleaning of the teeth. Be sure to brush for a full two minutes each time you brush, use small strokes, and brush all surfaces of the teeth. Also, hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to reach into the gum line as much as possible.
- Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash: Rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash after brushing and flossing can further reduce the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
- See your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings: Don't skip regular dental check-ups and cleanings because these allow dentists to catch any signs of damage or concerns early. In addition, professional cleanings help keep your teeth free of harmful plaque and tartar, which can be left behind by even the most diligent brushing and flossing.
- Properly care for dentures and gums: If you wear dentures, don't neglect your oral care and be sure to clean you dentures properly. Dentures should be cleaned with denture cleaners. Toothpaste should not be used because the abrasiveness of some toothpastes can damage dentures. Save the toothpaste for cleaning your gums and brushing your tongue to remove bacteria and food particles from the mouth.
Popular Treatments for Seniors
Our teeth are not immune to the aging process. Despite years of properly caring for our teeth, the senior years can leave us with dental damage from years of general wear and tear. On the other hand, years of neglecting oral health can finally catch up to us in our senior years. Fortunately, there are many treatments available to address the specific needs of senior patients. Some of the most popular treatments include:
- Teeth whitening: Professional teeth whitening can erase years of dental stains to rejuvenate the smile.
- Tooth-colored fillings: Tooth decay can be treated with cosmetically pleasing tooth-colored fillings to restore both dental function and appearance.
- Dental crowns: Dental crowns can be used to restore the structure of damaged teeth or teeth weakened by large dental fillings.
- Porcelain veneers: Porcelain veneers are another popular treatment for seniors because these can be used to mask dental flaws and improve the shape, size, color, or overall appearance of the teeth.
- Dental implants: Dental implants offer permanent replacement for missing teeth. They can be paired with dental crowns to replace individual teeth or implant-supported dentures to replace a full set of teeth.
- Implant-supported dentures: Implant-supported dentures anchor within the mouth by attaching to dental implants, offering a secure option for denture wearers.
- Gum disease treatment: Gum disease is common amongst seniors due to plaque and tartar build-up at the gum line. Mild to moderate gum disease can be treated with root planing and scaling, while more severe gum disease may require gum surgery.
Schedule a Consultation
Find out which treatments are right for you. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Reger today.