As an inclusive family dental practice, we see patients of varying ages. Throughout the stages of life, the extent of oral care needed changes. For the senior patient, we recognize special needs and provide care for the best interest of each person. We take several factors into account when treating our senior patients, such as medical conditions, medications or medical treatments, and overall health. Looking past the teeth and gums alone, we seek to enhance wellbeing through comprehensive care that includes at-home care tips and nutritional guidance when needed.
We are careful to assess the health of the gums of our older patients, as the risk of gum disease tends to increase as we age. Adding to this potential may be conditions such as arthritis, which may make it more difficult to perform daily oral hygiene practices adequately to thoroughly eliminate harmful bacteria. To alleviate any problems and save teeth, we may recommend more frequent professional cleanings or nutritional guidance from our partner nutritionist. Working with our nutritionist can be highly beneficial to create a less acidic oral environment through dietary changes, thus inhibiting the activity of harmful bacteria.
Keeping gums healthy also comes from what is done on a daily basis at home. Regardless of age, our patients are encouraged to brush teeth two times a day for a full two minutes, and floss once a day. For added protection against gum disease, an antibacterial mouthwash can be used after brushing.
Studies have shown that seniors are more likely to develop the condition of dry mouth. It is natural for saliva production to slow as we age, but this occurrence leads to the progression of gum disease. In addition to the natural slowing of saliva production, seniors may develop dry mouth as a result of certain medications, such as:
- Pain relievers
- Muscle relaxants
- Medications for Blood pressure, incontinence, or Parkinson's disease
In addition to excellent oral care practices and regular professional cleanings, patients may combat dry mouth by drinking plenty of water every day, and by chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candy.
We take extra precautions with our senior patients to promote oral and general health. Comprehensive evaluations include assessment of teeth and gums, as well as screening for oral cancer. To maintain healthy teeth and gums late into life, contact us for on-going dental care.