As people are living longer and enjoying good health for many years, dentists are increasingly offering improved services to recognize the special needs of older adults.
This growing segment of the population is wearing fewer dentures and they are keeping their natural teeth longer. They are also concerned to maintain good health and a great smile for many years.
However, patients in this group sometimes require special consideration because reduced mobility and dexterity may make daily oral hygiene difficult.
And certain medical conditions and impairment may make them more anxious when visiting the dentist.
For example, problems with vision or hearing loss may cause worry. Always let the dentist and staff know if you have any concerns so that they can adjust their treatment and their pace to meet your needs.
Older patients can sometimes put up with problems such as toothaches, bleeding gums and clicking dentures because they are not aware of the wide range of treatments and techniques now available.
Dentists are increasingly sensitive to the special needs of and the importance of dental health in the older patient.
As many older patients are more health conscious than ever before, regular visits to the dentist ensure their oral health is an important part of their overall health.
Your oral health is an important part of your overall health, and this is never more true than during pregnancy.
Good oral health habits not only help prevent oral problems during pregnancy, they also help the health of your unborn child.
What you eat during your pregnancy affects the development of your unborn child — including teeth.
Eating a balanced diet is necessary to provide the correct amounts of nutrients to nourish both you and your child.
Your babys teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth month of pregnancy, so it is important that you receive sufficient nutrients especially calcium, protein, phosphorous, and vitamins A, C, and D.
There is a common myth that calcium is lost from the mothers teeth during pregnancy.
In fact, the calcium your baby needs is provided by your diet, not by your teeth. If your diet does not provide enough calcium, your body will provide this mineral from stores in your bones.
If you have an adequate intake of dairy products the main source of calcium or take any supplements your obstetrician recommends this will help you get the calcium you need.
To help prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease, brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque. Be sure to clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners.
Make regular visits to your dentist during your pregnancy to ensure the best possible health for you and your baby.
Advancements in dental techniques and the increased focus on preventive dentistry means older adults are keeping their natural teeth longer than ever before.
A survey by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research showed that the rate of toothlessness in the 55 to 64 age group has dropped 60 percent since 1960.
Whatever your age, its important to practice good oral hygiene at home and to visit your dentist regularly. A few simple steps can help you maintain good oral health throughout your life.
Plaque, the sticky, colorless layer of bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease, can build up quickly on the teeth of older adults, particularly when they neglect oral hygiene. This can increase the risk for tooth decay and periodontal disease.
So its important to brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners.
Regular dental checkups are also an important part of caring for your teeth.
This can help you save your teeth and gums and prevent other dental problems. It will save you time and money in the long-run as well.
People at any age can have a condition that makes it difficult for them to look after their own dental health.
This could affect people who suffer from a wide range of conditons such as stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, mental retardation, Down syndrome, genetic disorders, Alzheimers disease or arthritis.
However, people in all of these categories have the same dental needs as everyone else – they need daily brushing and flossing, regular dental visits and a balanced diet.
There are some steps caregivers can take to make it easier to look after people in those categories.
If the person is uncooperative or uncontrollable, try to explain what you are about to do and schedule the task for a time of day when they are rested.
Move in a calm, slow, reassuring manner to avoid startling them. Give praise and encourage them when they help themselves.
Support the persons head, and take special care to prevent choking or gagging when the head is tilted back.
If the person is unable or unwilling to keep their mouth open, your dentist will explain how you can make and use a mouth prop.
Ask your dentist for advice on how to care for people with special needs and check if they have facilities for caring for these needs in the dental office.
Some people get a bit nervous about the idea of going to the dentist.
As a result of the major progress that has been made in diagnosis and treatment, the process gets more comfortable all the time. So you may be worrying unnecessarily.
But, if you’re in any way tense or anxious, tell your dentist and the dental staff.
They will understand and will be able to adapt the treatment to your needs.
It can also help if you choose a time for your dental visit when you’re less likely to be rushed or under pressure. Dashing out from a busy day at work may make you feel more stressed.
For many people, that means making an early-morning or a Saturday appointment helps a great deal.
There are also other steps than can help. If the sound of the drill bothers you, take a portable audio player and headset so you can listen to your favorite music.
You can also help to relax by simply visualizing yourself somewhere you feel relaxed.
Sometimes these simple steps can help you feel a lot better. So why not give it a try on your next visit?
The sugar content in the food you eat has a big effect on your teeth and gums.
When bacteria (plaque) come into contact with sugar in the mouth, acid is produced, which attacks the teeth for 20 minutes or more. This can eventually result in tooth decay.
Thats why drinking sugar-filled sodas, sweetened fruit drinks, and non-nutritious snacks can take a toll on teeth.
This is particularly true for children as their eating patterns and food choices affect how quickly they develop tooth decay.
Foods that contain sugars of any kind can contribute to tooth decay. However, almost all foods, including milk or vegetables, have some type of sugar. Many of them also contain important nutrients that are an important part in our diet.
To help control the amount of sugar you consume, read food labels and choose foods and beverages that are low in added sugars. Soft drinks,candy, cookies and pastries often contain added sugars.
Nowadays, thanks to advances in dental techniques and materials, patients have a much wider range of choices when they have to repair missing, worn, damaged or decayed teeth.
For example, materials such as ceramics and polymer compounds that look more like natural teeth help dentists create pleasing, natural-looking smiles.
The traditional materials such as gold, base metal alloys and dental amalgam are still widely used as they have many advantages.
The strength and durability of traditional dental materials continues to make them useful in many situations. For example, they are good when fillings are required in the back teeth because the pressure of chewing is high in that area.
The choice of the best option will depend on several factors such as the patient’s oral and general health, where and how the filling is placed and the number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth.
The choice about which option is best depends on each individuals needs so you should discuss the options with your dentist.
Bad breath – which is also known as halitosis – is a worrying problem that can also be embarrassing.
But theres no need to put up with it. If you suffer from bad breath, your dentist will be able to suggest a range of solutions.
Your dentist will be able to spot problems such as gum disease, dry mouth or other disorders. Thats why its important to maintain good oral hygiene, schedule regular visits to the dentist and have professional cleaning.
Make sure you brush your teeth twice a day and clean between your teeth each day using floss or interdental cleaners. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, too!
If your dental check up shows that your mouth is healthy, your dentist may refer you to your family physician as sometimes bad breath can be a sign of other health problems.
If the odor is due to periodontal (gum) disease, sometimes professional periodontal cleaning is needed to remove the bacteria and plaque that accumulate. And your dentist may recommend a special antimicrobial mouth rinse.
Keeping your mouth healthy and stopping periodontal disease are essential to reducing bad breath.
So make sure you schedule regular dental visits for a professional cleaning and checkup.
There are many people who find it difficult to look after their dental health properly because they have problems handling a toothbrush.
This can be due to a severe physical disability or simply basic dexterity problems.
There are a few simple steps you can take to make it easier for people who find it difficult to hold on to a toothbrush or dental floss.
Here are some simple ‘home remedies’:
– Use a wide elastic band to attach the brush to the hand
– Enlarge the brush handle with a sponge, rubber ball or bicycle handle grip
– Wind an elastic bandage or adhesive tape around the handle
– Lengthen the handle with a piece of wood or plastic such as a ruler, popsicle stick or tongue depressor
– Tie floss into a loop for easier handling
– Use an electric toothbrush or commercial floss holder
Your dentist will be able to provide specific guidance and further tips for people who need an easier way to handle a toothbrush and floss.
Maintaining proper nutrition is important for everyone, young or old but many older adults find it difficult to eat a balanced diet.
They may avoid meats, raw vegetables and fresh fruits because they have trouble chewing or swallowing.
These problems can be caused by painful teeth, ill-fitting dentures, dry mouth or changes in facial muscles.
Others find their sense of taste has changed, sometimes due to a disease or certain medications.
As a result, older adults often have diets lacking in calcium, protein and other nutrients essential to dental and overall health.
A balanced diet has to be based on the five food groups:
– Milk and dairy products
– Breads and cereals
– Meats and dried beans
Sometimes a multi-vitamin or mineral supplement will help but it’s best to use supplements only after discussion with your physician.
If your teeth are stopping you from eating the food you enjoy – or that you need for good health – your dentist will be able to help you find a solution.