Often overlooked or underestimated, good oral health plays a pivotal role in the overall well-being of older adults. Beyond preserving a radiant smile, maintaining healthy teeth and gums is essential for maintaining proper nutrition, preventing systemic health issues and preserving self-confidence. In this post, we’ll delve into how to protect your oral health as an older adult.
By 2060, the number of US adults aged 65 years or older is expected to reach 98 million, or 24% of the overall population, according to the US Census. And many of those can experience oral health problems such as the following:
- Untreated tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Tooth loss
- Oral cancer
- Chronic disease that can lead to gum disease and lack of dental care
What’s even scarier is that 25% of Americans aged 65 and older have no remaining teeth, and nearly one-third of older adults have untreated tooth decay, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Essential Methods to Protecting your Oral Health as you Age
Protecting your oral health can mean a life free of oral pain and a positive self-image. Therefore, as you get older, you must make it a priority to protect your oral health. Here are several essential ways to help maintain your vibrant smile and overall well-being.
- Sustain a consistent oral hygiene routine. Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and don’t forget to clean your tongue as well. Consider using antimicrobial mouth rinses and fluoride toothpaste.
- Visit your dentist regularly. Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings, ideally every six months or as recommended by your dentist. Regular exams can help detect and address oral health issues early on.
- Address dry mouth (Xerostomia). Drink plenty of water, and limit caffeine and alcohol consumption, as they can contribute to dryness. Chew sugar-free gum or use saliva substitutes to help alleviate dry mouth symptoms.
- Practice good denture care. Ensure that your dentures fit properly and are cleaned daily to prevent irritation and infections. Regularly check for any signs of wear or damage and consult your dentist if adjustments are needed.
- Maintain a balanced diet. Eat a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy products. Limit sugary and acidic foods and beverages, as they can contribute to tooth decay.
- Quit tobacco use: If you smoke or use other tobacco products, consider quitting. Tobacco use significantly increases the risk of gum disease, oral cancer and other oral health problems.
Your oral health plays a significant role in your overall health and can affect how you eat, speak and interact socially. By prioritizing regular dental checkups, practicing good oral hygiene, addressing specific oral health concerns, and adopting healthy lifestyle habits, you can reduce the risk of dental problems, maintain a radiant smile, and promote better overall health.
Exceptional Dental Care for Older Adults at Advanced Family Dentistry
By combining expertise, personalized care and a patient-centered approach, our practice works closely with older adults and seniors throughout Northern Virginia to provide excellent dental health care in several ways:
- Comprehensive geriatric dental examinations specifically tailored to the unique needs of seniors.
- Personalized treatment plans based on your oral health needs, budgetary considerations and personal preferences to ensure you receive the necessary care.
- Dental insurance assistance to explain insurance benefits, help maximize coverage, and handle the necessary paperwork, making it easier to afford the care you need.
- Financing options and payment plans, like split payments, Care Credit no-interest financing, and a 15% senior discount on most services for patients over 65.
- Preventive care and education to provide guidance on establishing and maintaining good oral hygiene practices, offer advice on nutrition and lifestyle choices, and emphasize the importance of regular dental checkups and cleanings.
- Gentle and compassionate care. We understand the unique concerns and sensitivities older adults may have during dental visits. We strive to be welcoming and comforting while addressing your specific needs or anxieties.
If you have a dental concerns, or simply need an exceptional family dentist, contact Advanced Family Dentistry at 703-390-9191 to schedule your appointment. We’re conveniently located in Reston, Virginia.
Dr. Sonny Kim is a Diplomat of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI), the highest education level for general dentists in this field.
Advanced Family Dentistry
Dr. Sonny Kim, DMD
11876 Sunrise Valley Dr., Suite 101
Reston, VA 20191