Dental Care for Adults over 60
Wouldn’t we want to eat all those crunchy and delectable items we like even after we turn 60? Definitely! While it is easier to maintain our teeth at a young age, it becomes increasingly difficult as one age. This might be due to various reasons ranging from dietary restrictions to loosening of gums due to old age. Healthy and strong teeth are very essential though irrespective of our age. It not only ensures that one can eat all the things one likes but also enables them to talk clearly and look confident.
Oral health becomes all the important because of the simple fact that teeth being the first point of contact with our body should be maintained well to avoid any harm to the body. Microbial build up in the oral cavity would lead to its getting flushed into the system and causing severe and irreversible health hazards.
It has been observed that dental health is associated with a plethora of ailments which can be prevented by keeping our teeth healthy. Some of these are: Heart disease, Stroke, Diabetes, Pneumonia and other health problems which are very common in this age.
It is very essential to follow the entire healthy teeth regimen we learn as kids. Brushing twice daily and flossing once everyday should be a blind rule one must always follow to ensure healthy teeth and gums. Good fluoride toothpaste combined with a dentist recommended toothbrush which suits your teeth and oral requirement would ensure that the pearly white beauties stay that way for a long time. A regular dental appointment with a certified dentist is very essential to ensure that there is no undiagnosed dental condition which might cost us our dental and overall health at a later stage.
Along with these, a healthy and nutrition rich diet is also very important for our overall as well as the dental health. As one approaches 60, it is advisable that they avoid high calorie food and stick to leaner and more nutritious and fat-free versions of dietary supplements. One must ensure that they have a balance of necessary vitamins and minerals along with a daily dosage of fiber. This not only helps in the bowel movement but also helps in balancing the ph levels and flushing off the remnant food particles from the mouth. Fat-free and toned version of dairy and dairy products would give you the daily dosage of calcium. Your dentist would be able to tell you the daily nutrition requirement and what can be eaten based on the health and dietary restrictions one has.
Regular rinsing of mouth using mouth wash or plain water would minimize the acid build up in the oral cavity which tends to decay the teeth or lead to gingivitis. It also prevents the mouth cavity to smell fresh and odor free throughout the day. Drinking plenty of water and fluids which are sugar-free would ensure that the body remains hydrated and the mouth also doesn’t dry up. Dry mouth leads to acid build up and results in teeth decay or gum loosening.
The first and foremost rule in dental health is brushing and flossing. This is common to everybody irrespective of age. The risk of cavities increases as one ages. Also there are a plethora of other dental problems one needs to worry about as an individual crosses 60. Let us look at the entire dental health regimen one needs to follow diligently for healthy and strong teeth.
Brushing: This is the most critical and the most essential regimen which can’t be skipped at any account. The brushing must be done in the right way in circular movements and not in horizontal fashion. The toothpaste used must have fluoride in it and it must not be too sugary. Sugary toothpaste tends to increase sensitivity and also leads to decay if not rinsed properly. The toothbrush must have a small head which can reach all corners of the oral cavity. It must be taken care that the brush has soft bristles especially after a certain age. Since by 60, the teeth and gums would have become fragile and are prone to get hurt and ruptured easily, care must be taken to ensure that the brushing process doesn’t lead to gum rupture or bleeding. Using of electric toothbrush would be beneficial in cases where in the person has restricted arm movement or suffers from joint pain which would disable them from reaching the far corners of the mouth. The toothbrush must be changed regularly as and when the bristles look worn out and frayed.
Flossing: This is another aspect which doesn’t change from infancy. Flossing everyday ensures that there are no remnant foods particles stuck between the teeth which can potentially cause tooth decay or foul odor. Rinsing the mouth regularly with a mouth wash or plain water would ensure that there is no germ build up and also that the mouth stays hydrated.
Cleaning Dentures: As one ages, there is a high possibility that their teeth have fallen and been replaced with dentures. For such people, proper cleaning of dentures is very essential. It has to be noted that these dentures can’t be cleaned with the regular brush and toothpaste as it leads to abrasion and damage to it. It must be cleaned with cleaning products specially made for these dentures. This must be removed for some time everyday to ensure there is no damage to the dental lining. It is advisable to remove and preserve it properly during the night. Dental Visits: One must always schedule regular dental visits and it must be followed all the more diligently as one ages. This is because there are more problems and diseases one has to safeguard the teeth from and there is a lot of potential for damage as one age. The dentist must be made aware of all the additional medications and the over-the-counter drugs taken to ensure that the dentist recommends and looks out for related problems and ailments pertaining to that. The dentures and fillings one has to be regularly examined for any damage.
Quitting unhealthy habits: It is not advisable to continue certain habits like smoking, use of drugs and nicotine and alcohol in any form. As one ages, the body ages along with them and so does their teeth and oral cavity. It is extremely important that unhealthy and addictive habits like these be completely stopped before it leads to fatal consequences.
Drinking lots of fluids and water: Drinking fluoride rich fluids and water regularly not only keeps you hydrated but also ensures that your teeth gets the right amount of fluoride necessary to keep the teeth healthy. This not only keeps the teeth cavity free but also ensures there is no germ and acid build up in the mouth.
As one ages, the dental care regimen becomes more complicated as the related dental issues increases and the teeth starts getting weaker and more prone to diseases. This is the phase when the teeth are vulnerable to infections and cavities. There are so many concerns related to dental health when one turns 60. Let us look at some common cause of concerns and the steps necessary to curb it:
Dry Mouth: This is a very common problem with old age. This condition is the most significant cause of cavities in old age and is caused due to the number of medicines and drugs used in that age for various other ailments. A mouth wash or regular rinsing with plain water will do the trick. Drinking loads of water and staying hydrated all the time ensures that the mouth doesn’t dry up. Avoiding food which tends to dry up or irritate the mouth like caffeine rich drinks, soda water, sugary juices, acidic juices and alcohol would minimize the effect of dry mouth.
Gum Disease: At a time when the gums and teeth are weak and prone to infections, a common cause of deteriorating dental health is gum diseases. This is a result of germ build up in the gums and teeth which leads to rotting and decaying of teeth. The common symptoms of gum disease is bleeding and swelling of gums, loosening of gums and a sponge like sensation in the dental region. This is fairly painless in the initial phase and creeps up without any warning signs. One must be therefore very careful about what they eat and how they maintain their teeth and gums. Avoiding starchy and sugary food and regular rinsing of teeth and mouth would minimize the effect of gum disease. Usage of mouth guards and sealants are another way of safe guarding the teeth from gum disease.
Oral Cancer: As one approaches 60, care must be taken to ensure that the dentist checks for symptoms for oral cancer. This disease is mostly observed in patients above 60 years of age and might present in the form of open sores, white or reddish patches, and changes in the lips, tongue and lining of the mouth that lasts for more than two weeks. Early detection can help the patients in treating it in advance and avoiding lot of painful procedures. Oral cancer at an advanced stage can prove to be fatal and life threatening also.
Antibiotics and Dental Procedures: This is an important aspect to consider when a patient above 60 undergoes or has to undergo a dental procedure. For someone with certain health conditions pertaining to the heart and joints, careful scrutiny is very essential. A dentist might prescribe certain antibiotics to ensure there is a reduced chance of infections in such cases.
Keeping the dentist well informed of any relevant medical conditions and ailments will ensure that there are no side-effects and harmful aftermath of a simple dental procedure or treatment. A well informed and well managed lifestyle will only ensure strong and healthy teeth and gums.
It is very essential that a person above 60 manages a strict diet and eating schedule. This not only helps in maintaining healthy teeth but is beneficial for the whole body. Eating right and at the correct duration would ensure that the teeth and dental health is maintained.
There must be a proper balance of nutrition and the diet must be low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals. An abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables ensure that the teeth, gums and body get the required amount of nutrients on a daily basis. One can take these fruits and vegetables in a variety of forms ranging from juices, salads and cooked and boiled forms.
Whole grains and cereals are another main part of daily diet. They are a rich source of fiber, proteins and essential vitamins and minerals. They help in managing the overall health of the teeth and body. Lean meat and legumes, beans and peas should also be a part of our daily food intake. They help the gums in repairing damage due to any possible ruptures and infections and helps fight germs.
Dairy and dairy products ensure that the daily dosage of calcium requirement is satisfied on a daily basis. It is very essential for bone and teeth health. Calcium deficiency can mean brittle and weak teeth and bones which easily break off. A glass of milk gives around 300mg of calcium and an adult requires around 1000mg of calcium daily. This would give everyone a rough estimate of how much of calcium-rich food and supplements one has to take daily to keep the teeth and gums healthy.
Avoiding junk food and starchy food would minimize the risk of teeth decay and gingivitis. Limiting alcohol and quitting the use of tobacco, nicotine and drugs would not only ensure a good dental health but also have considerable impact on the overall health. These products result in staining and yellowing of teeth, decaying of teeth and gums, and to more serious problems like oral cancer. Plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth can affect the overall dental health and would lead to extraction of all the teeth and replacing with dentures. When taking dairy and dairy products, one must ensure to consume the toned and fat free version of it. This ensures that there is no unnecessary fat accumulation in the body. Regular rinsing of mouth after every meal would ensure there is no acid build up which might lead to tooth decay.
A healthy and balanced diet is very essential to manage the overall health and the dental health. As one ages, the number of precautions and the level of care should increase and one must not take dental health for granted at any cost. A regular visit to the dentist is a must at all ages and so is the need to eat right. When it comes to preserving our smiles there must be no stones left unturned!