Maintaining a high level of oral hygiene should start when you’re young but you should be more thorough as you age. According to dentists in Naples, the elderly population is more susceptible to oral health issues because of several factors, including the use of medications, chronic diseases, and limitations in mobility. It is vital to maintain good oral hygiene to protect your oral health as you age.
Dental Hygiene Practices for the Elderly
- Brush Twice a Day: Brushing teeth twice daily is crucial to remove food debris, plaque, and bacteria from the teeth and gums. Dentists recommended using a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid causing damage to the teeth and gums. For those with limited mobility, an electric toothbrush may be more convenient.
- Floss Daily: Flossing at least once daily helps to remove food debris and plaque between teeth, which cannot be reached by brushing alone. Flossing can also help prevent gum disease, which is more prevalent in the elderly. A Waterpik is a great tool to help get the big chunks of food out, which accumulate more readily as we age, and it is good to do before flossing with manual floss.
- Use a Mouthwash: Using a mouthwash can help remove bacteria and freshen your breath. However, rinsing with mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing and flossing. Make sure your mouthwash is specific to your needs. A simple breath freshening mouthwash has no benefit to your teeth.
- Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water as it helps prevent dry mouth, which can cause tooth decay and periodontal disease. Avoid sugary and acidic drinks, as they can erode tooth enamel.
- Limit snacking and try to minimize the contact time food has on your teeth: Many older patients like to suck on mints or candies, but this has a detrimental effect on the teeth. Using a sugar free gum after meals to help promote salivary flow in addition to drinking water can help rebuffer the acidic oral environment left after eating.
- Regular Dental Checkups: Regular dental checkups are crucial for maintaining good oral health. Visiting the dentist at least twice yearly is recommended for cleanings and checkups. The dentist can identify any dental issues during these visits and provide necessary treatment.
Looking for a Dentist in Naples?
Oral hygiene is essential for the elderly to prevent dental problems and maintain overall health. By following these dental hygiene tips, the elderly can enjoy excellent oral health and a healthy smile. At Gulfside Dental, we offer a wide array of dental treatments customized to fit the needs of the elderly. Contact us for an appointment.