June 3, 2015
Oral health is an important and often overlooked component of an older person’s general health and well being. According the CDC about ¼ of Americans 65 and older have lost their teeth and 1/3 have untreated decay and infection in their mouths. This is a concern because poor dental health is linked to many other health concerns including heart disease and diabetes. Home care is the key to a healthy mouth. Remembering to brush and floss for 2 minutes 2 times a day to decrease the risk for dental decay. Drinking fluoridated water and using an ADA (American Dental Association) approved rinse is recommended. Water devices (water picks) and electric toothbrushes (oral B, Sonicare, etc.) help to keep gums clean and healthy. And, limit snacking and sipping on sugary drinks. Other things to keep in mind include memory (forgetting to brush and floss), dry mouth from medications, and even the inability to properly hold a toothbrush. How can we help our loved ones remember to brush and floss 2 x a day for 2 minutes? Often a note by a favorite chair or stuck to bathroom mirror is a great reminder. Dry mouth can be battled with some over the counter dental aids (Biotene and Xylitol). And, for patients that can no longer hold a toothbrush, daily aid will be necessary.
Until next time,
Keep smiling, sharing, and caring