Senior Dental Care: 3 Tips to Maintain Healthy Teeth

dental care tips for seniors, dental care tips for adults, how often should seniors brush their teeth

Senior Dental Care: 3 Tips to Maintain Healthy Teeth

Keeping your gums, teeth, and mouth healthy improves your overall health and wellbeing. But good oral health requires upkeep at every stage of life, even though methods may change over the years. The dental care habits you had as a young adult may need to be altered or amended as you age. Dental care is just as important for seniors as it is at any other phase of life. However, seniors often face extra challenges, like receding gums to dry mouth from medications. Today we’re sharing some dental care tips for adults and seniors that can help prevent tooth loss and promote a lifelong healthy smile.

Three Important Dental Care Tips for Seniors

Tooth decay and gum disease can happen to anyone. It’s important to get these conditions treated immediately—struggling with an existing condition will only allow it to get worse. Maintaining daily care of your teeth and gums and attending regular checkups at your dentist will help you prevent these conditions. 

1: Know the Side Effects of Your Medications 

Dry mouth is a common problem in older adults, and it often results as a side effect from  prescription drugs. There are over 500 known medications that cause dry mouth, and it can be a serious condition. If there’s not enough saliva present, plaque has an easier time adhering to the surfaces of your teeth, which will increase your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. A dry mouth can also aggravate your dentures, cause mouth sores, and result in cracked lips. 

To combat dry mouth, limit your caffeine intake, sip water regularly, avoid mouthwash with alcohol, ask your dentist about an oral rinse, use a humidifier at night when you sleep, and avoid spicy or overly sugary foods. It’s always recommended to avoid using alcohol and tobacco, as these substances make dry mouth worse. 

2: Watch for Changes in Your Mouth

If you’re brushing your teeth twice a day, you’re right on track. Seniors and adults need to brush and floss their teeth regularly, just as they’ve done throughout their lives. While you’re at the mirror doing your regular oral care routine, check your mouth for any sores or spots that look different. Always be mindful to note any changes in your oral health and talk to your dentist about them. 

Some changes to watch out for are: 

  • Bleeding gums or numbness in the gums
  • Swelling in your jaw, gums, or face 
  • Red or white circular patches in the mouth
  • Difficulty moving your tongue
  • Trouble swallowing or chewing
  • Receding gum line or new gaps between teeth

3: Build on Your Good Habits

We all know that regular brushing and daily flossing are necessary, but what can adults do to further their dental care at home? Some extra dental care tips we need to pick up as older adults can include a proper denture care routine, using a mouth rinse to combat dryness, or switching to an electric toothbrush for an easier time removing plaque. 

Another helpful thing for seniors to be aware of is their calcium levels. Calcium deficiency is linked to tooth decay and tooth loss. Your body needs calcium to maintain strong bones and teeth, and the amount recommended by the National Institute of Health is higher for adults than for children. It’s bumped up again for seniors who are 71 and older. Upping your calcium intake can be done through food or through a supplement. But because calcium can interact adversely with some medications, it’s important to talk to your doctor before starting any supplements. 

Maintain Good Dental Health with Regular Checkups

Regular trips to the dentist are essential for seniors. Only a professional cleaning can remove tartar buildup, and exams can expose the early signs of dental conditions that might lead to tooth loss. At Dr. Saba and Associates, we offer treatment for gum disease, bruxism, tooth decay, and more. We can also replace missing teeth with high quality bridges or dentures.

Give us a call at 480-895-2111 today to make an appointment.





image by:  Alexandru Manole from Pixabay | 3/28/24 | used under the creative commons license