Older Adults Oral Hygiene

Consumer Reports Highlights Steps To Help Older Adults Maintain Oral Health
Posted on 11/20/2018
At Tennessee River Dental, we're proud to help patients of all ages in Hixson achieve comprehensive dental health through high-quality dental treatment – and that includes senior citizens. Our focus is on long-term dental well-being, and this becomes even more important as patients age. According to a new article in Consumer Reports, dental problems are widespread among the elderly, with the CDC reporting that “twenty percent of older adults have untreated tooth decay, more than two-thirds have gum disease, and almost 1 in 5 has lost all of his or her teeth.” To help combat this, Consumer Reports has highlighted some of the most effective strategies older adults can use to maintain good oral health.

How Senior Citizens Can Improve Oral Health

As one might expect, the most important step for older adults to maintain oral hygiene is daily brushing and flossing. However, some older adults may benefit from using an electric toothbrush: while both manual and electric can work, electric brushes don't require the same level of dexterity and may be easier for people with arthritis. It may also be easier to use a water jet or an interdental toothbrush instead of flossing.

Another important factor is to know how to recognize a dental emergency when it happens. Any persistent, throbbing toothache that makes it difficult to chew or bite down may signal a dental infection or abscess, and without treatment, these infections can spread quickly throughout the face. It's important that older adults know how to recognize signs of a dental abscess, cavity, or broken tooth. 

According to Dr. Randall, prevention is always the best medicine – but as we age, there's more that needs be done to keep our mouths healthy..

"Prevention is the easiest, most cost-effective way of staying healthy and it's no different with our mouths than the rest of the body. Unfortunately, just like with overall health, we tend to see people have a higher risk of developing problems as they age," explains Dr. Randall. "Frequently, dental issues later in life are a result of side effects from new medications, changes in our body chemistry, and simply use over time. Prevention can be as simple as brushing & flossing each day but in some situations when additional challenges exist, we have to do more to prevent bad outcomes."

Schedule an Appointment with Your Chattanooga Family Dentist

Maintaining good oral health can be a challenge, especially for older adults, but at Tennessee River Dental, we're here to help. Request an appointment online if you'd like to schedule a checkup or treatment consultation or want to learn more about your options. We look forward to hearing from you, and we wish you luck in maintaining a healthy smile throughout your whole life!