What I’ve learned about senior dental care
Dental care is with us always, from baby teeth to senior teeth. And let’s be honest, going to the Dentist is not usually a joyous experience. It has also been said that those sometimes irritating periods in life can seem like one long dental appointment.
But thank God for our dentists. They give us a great smile. They stop our pain. They prevent disease. And they do it all standing up. That is all but Doc Corkle. In an early TV series of the same name, Doc was a dentist who couldn’t afford a patients chair so they had to stand up with him. It’s better now.
So, let’s talk about the best ways to care for our teeth. The ones we grew up with first. Then we’ll talk about the ones that may have replaced them.
LET’S START WITH THE BASICS:
- Take care of the basics: Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Morning and night at a minimum.
- Floss daily: There has been some reporting lately that studies have shown it doesn’t do any good. Why chance it. Floss.
- Create a schedule for regular dentist visits for check ups and cleaning. At least once a year.
SO MUCH FOR THE BASICS:
What else should we seniors be doing or knowing.?
- Well, believe it or not, our teeth can last a life time, if treated well. Not always, but they can, so give it a try. Treat them right. Some good advice follows.
- Seniors are more susceptible to cavities and surface root decay so brushing with a fluoride toothpaste is a good idea.
- Seniors can suffer sensitivity pain as gums recede leaving part of a tooth or teeth without the full protection of enamel. First try anti sensitivity toothpaste, but if that doesn’t do the job definitely visit your dentist to see if another cause including, cavity or cracked or fractured teeth is the culprit.
- Seniors are often dealing with dry mouth. Medication can cause it. Some medical conditions can do it too. Over time it can do more than just be uncomfortable, it can damage your teeth as well. Your dentist has number of ways to help bring back the moisture. And he or she can suggest treatments and or meditations to prevent the other problems dry mouth may cause.
- Certain conditions including heart disease, diabetes or cancer can effect your dental health. Don’t fail to let your dentist know of your overall health so he/she can address those issues in your dental care.
NOW HOW ABOUT DENTURES:
They’re made to last too, if also cared for properly.
- If you have dentures you’re still using the gums you started this life with. But gum disease is a potentially serious threat. So just because you have dentures doesn’t mean you stop with the annual check up.
- Gum disease can be more likely if your diet is bad and your hygiene is bad…Stress and smoking play their nasty part…Certain medications are a possible cause. Make sure your dentist knows the ones you’re taking. And of course general diseases can contribute to gum problems too.
- Here’s the good news. With early detection of gum disease it can be reversed. Don’t miss those yearly check ups.
- And remember, probably the greatest protection against gum disease is good old, good old, hygiene!
NOW LET’S NOT FORGET ABOUT CROWNS AND BRIDGES:
Crowns are like the King’s or Queen’s crown. They sit on top of the damaged tooth, covering and strengthening it. They can reshape it too, without dieting…but you knew that didn’t you.
A dental bridge is not “a bridge to know where.” It is just a “bridge over troubled waters.” But while it won’t improve your singing, it will put a tooth, or teeth, where none are anmore and anchor it, or them, at each end. Like a bridge you see…but you knew that.
Well before we get to silly its enough to say, please pay attention to this advise. We want you to go on, and on happily chewing and cheerfully smiling.
Remember also, that going to the dentist may not be the most fun thing you’ve ever done, but your dentist can be one of the best friends you’ll ever have!
I’m not a dentist, but a little research is not a dangerous thing!