Dental Care Tips for Adults Over 60

Dental_CareEveryone understands the importance of dental care when a baby gets his or her first tooth, or when a teenager finally gets their wisdom teeth. Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist practicing in central Phoenix, says it’s important to continue emphasizing dental health when an adult is approaching his or her retirement years.

“Our commitment to our teeth needs to increase, not decrease, as we age,” she reports.

Older adults do face some additional challenges in keeping their smiles healthy. Medicaid and Medicare typically do not cover dental visits, and decreasing dexterity can decrease the effectiveness of a brushing or flossing regimen. Diseases such as diabetes can complicate or worsen the severity of dental conditions (and vice versa), and many medications can cause dry mouth, which greatly reduces the flow of saliva in the mouth and increases the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

Here are a few suggestions for you or a loved one aged 60 or older to ensure that good dental care continues to happen:

  • Continue to brush and floss daily. Talk to your dentist or physician if holding a toothbrush or flossing your teeth is becoming difficult for you.
  • Ask your dentist if a fluoride wash would be a helpful addition to your oral health routine.
  • Stay hydrated, and drink water after eating or drinking sugary or “sticky” foods.
  • Eat more teeth-friendly foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and cheese.
  • Work with your medical team to keep your diabetes well controlled.
  • See your dentist regularly and at the frequency recommended.

Although the specific challenges to your teeth may change as you enter later adulthood, staying enthusiastic about dental care can make a huge difference in your quality of life.

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