As we get older, we may not put some much effort into our oral care. Whether your parents are in their fifties or pushing 90, you can help them avoid these dental problems as they age:
Extreme dry mouth: Older people are at risk for dry mouth due to the physical changes in their bodies and certain medications. Saliva helps kill harmful bacteria and keeps our enamel (the outer layer that coats each tooth) strong.
Wear and tear: Scientifically known as attrition, older mouths are subject to wear and tear from all the years of chewing and grinding. The more use our teeth get, the more we’re at risk for cavities.
Serious illnesses: As we age, we become more susceptible to ailments like thrush (caused by fungal growth in the mouth), periodontal disease, and serious illnesses like oral cancer.
Root problems: People who suffer from gum disease are at risk for root decay. When our gums recede, the roots get exposed leaving them prey to harmful bacteria.
How Can You Help Your Parents Keep Their Teeth Healthy?
Helping your parents maintain great oral health isn’t that hard. You can do your part by:
Scheduling their dental appointments. If your parents are still mobile, they will probably be able to do this themselves. However, as they age, you may need to do it for them. Everyone should visit the dentist every six months for professional cleanings and checkups.
Talking to their dentist. You can contact their dentist (or yours) to ask for senior care tips such as what type of toothpaste and mouthwash are better for older mouths.
Making sure they stay away from tobacco. No matter if it’s in a pipe or a cigarette, prolonged tobacco use increases the risk of mouth and throat cancer, heart disease, tooth decay and problems with taste. If you have a parent (or parents) who still smoke, you need to pester them to quit.
Watching their sugar consumption and increasing their water intake. Sometimes when we age we throw our healthy eating habits out the window because it’s easier to make processed food. So, make sure your parents are maintaining a balanced diet and drinking lots of water. You also want to make sure they are not compensating for their reduced saliva by consuming sugary candies and drinks.
Inquiring about different medications. To combat dry mouth, you can ask your parents (or their doctors) about the medications they are taking and if there are ones that do not cause dry mouth.
For more about helping your elderly parents care for their teeth or to book an appointment please visit our contact page here or call us at 289-624-1809. You’re never too old or too young to take control of your oral health.