In the past, losing teeth and getting dentures was considered a nearly unavoidable part of aging. Thankfully those days are over – intact teeth, healthy gums and pain-free smiles are what older adults should expect as they maintain good oral hygiene and get regular dental care in Michigan City.
Some seniors may find it more difficult to brush thoroughly and take care of their teeth than they used to. But with age, good dental care in Michigan City is key to avoiding gum disease, preserving function and allowing people to eat well. Below we’re describing potential issues, interesting devices and affordable resources for seniors and caregivers to keep teeth healthy.
Debunking Senior Michigan City Dental Care Myths
Common misconceptions about aging teeth can act as barriers to the best dental care. Keep the following recommendations in mind:
Cavities aren’t just for kids. Evidence is clear that loss of teeth is decreasing among older Americans. People are keeping their teeth and keeping them longer; therefore, they could be at risk for cavities. It doesn’t mean that’s automatic – if you’re taking care of your teeth, we can prevent cavities.
Don’t wait for pain. Waiting for patients to start experiencing pain before performing root-surface procedures isn’t a good approach for older adults in their 70s and beyond. Pain perception changes with age, and a problem that would send a 40-year-old screaming to their dentist might not register with someone who’s 75. Similarly, older patients might put off needed care, not realizing that pain is a sign of an underlying problem. But waiting until it really hurts could lead to tooth loss and costly reconstructive work.
Teeth shouldn’t soften. It’s not true that teeth naturally become softer with age. If you have bone loss, you have periodontal disease or your teeth are breaking up because there’s decay.
Don’t stop brushing if you have bleeding bums. Bleeding gums are a sign of infection and an indication that oral hygiene isn’t ideal. Caregivers may be reluctant to brush people’s teeth when bleeding occurs; however, it’s going to bleed when you start, but keep cleaning until it stops and gets healthy again.
Nutrition suffers with dental problems. It’s a myth that missing teeth or faulty dentures make people eat less. Instead, they choose softer foods like doughnuts and avoid healthier choices like salads, raw carrots and apples. When loose lower dentures impair function, implants help clasp them in place. Strategically located implants to replace missing teeth can allow better chewing, so people eat in a more nutritious way.
Body-Mouth Connection for Good Dental Care in Michigan City
You can’t have good overall health without dental health. The mouth is the entrance to your stomach and other parts of the body, and we have been learning more from the science and research about the connection between chronic conditions like diabetes and the oral health of that individual.
Diagnostic tools like X-rays and a systematic screening process, including a head and neck exam, may locate cancerous and noncancerous growths. A dental exam can also catch systemic problems like a blood disorder.
Older adults may see prescriptions pile up, and some medications lead to dry mouth. If you notice a couple months after you start a new medication your mouth getting drier, do not do anything except drink water to fix. Do not suck on candies. Do not drink more coffees and teas with sugar in them.
When brushing and flossing get harder for patients, plaque builds along their gum lines and food gets caught in their teeth. Easy-to-use dental devices can make up for reduced manual dexterity and improve patients’ ability to keep teeth clean.
If you would like more information regarding senior dental care in Michigan City – or if it’s been six months since your last visit – call our office today to schedule your next appointment. Don’t put it off!