Healthy Smiles Should Last A Lifetime: Dental Health Tips For Older Adults

Good dental health is an important component of the overall quality of life. Unhealthy teeth and gums can impact proper chewing and make it difficult to absorb nutrients. Even worse, research shows that poor oral health can also increase the chances of experiencing heart health issues.  

Oral health often declines due to age, but it doesn't have to be that way. If you are approaching your senior years and want to continue to enjoy the benefits of an attractive smile and strong, healthy teeth and gums, here are a few things you should know.  

Avoid dry mouth 

Some commonly prescribed medications for high blood pressure, arthritis, and other common senior health issues can cause a decrease in the amount of natural saliva produced. Without the protective moisture of saliva, teeth and gum deterioration can occur much faster. If you must take these medications, it is important to combat dry mouth by frequently rinsing the mouth and drinking water to promote proper hydration.  

Maintain dental coverage

Many senior citizens lose the dental insurance coverage they have had through their employer once they retire. If you are in this situation and your financial situation will make it difficult for you to cash flow regular dental care, purchasing a stand-alone dental care insurance plan can help ease the burden. Many dentists also offer a senior citizen's discount or a budget-friendly payment plan alternative that can help you continue necessary dental care throughout life.  

Stop smoking 

If you are approaching your senior years and still continuing to smoke or use tobacco products, taking the initiative to stop is an important part of protecting your dental health as you age. Instead of lighting up a cigarette, consider switching to the use of a sugar-free gum that will have the dual benefit of reducing your dependence on tobacco and helping promote saliva production in the mouth.  

Eliminate sugar

Nutrition issues become more prevalent with age. This often happens when seniors resort to snacking instead of preparing balanced meals. Unfortunately, many snack foods are full of sugar and starch that can increase the chances of cavities, gum disease, and other health issues. Seniors who make a concerted effort to reduce the amount of sugar and starch they consume are taking proactive measures to ensure they enjoy better dental health throughout their lifetime.  

To learn more about maintaining good oral health and a healthy smile as you age, ask a dentist to make suggestions based on your specific needs.