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The Effects Ageing has on Oral Hygiene and the Best Tips to Tackle Them

Due to modern dental techniques and knowledge, more older people are able to keep their natural teeth these days. Dental care in nursing homes and dental care in private care homes is more widely available, so it is not only those older adults living in the community who have access to professional dental services. Staff in residential homes are better educated in oral care and are able to pass their knowledge and skills on to their clients, whilst the availability of tools such as modern toothbrushes and interdental cleaners can help with maintaining teeth in good condition.

man smiling

How Ageing Can Affect Oral Health

Some oral conditions are more likely to occur in older adults than in younger people. These include having a dry mouth. There are various causes of dry mouth, but medication can be a major cause and people often take more medication as they grow older. More than four hundred common drugs are known to contribute to the condition, and having a dry mouth and a lack of saliva increases the risk of oral diseases developing.

Wear and tear, also known as attrition, can wear down the tooth enamel, increasing the risk of cavities developing. Gum disease and root decay may also occur more quickly in older people. Dental care in nursing homes will include monitoring patients for oral diseases. These may be simple and easily treatable such as thrush but can also include serious conditions such as oral cancer, and it is important that signs are picked up early.

Keeping Your Mouth Healthy

Fluoride can help to protect teeth, so it is worth using a toothpaste containing fluoride. You should avoid using any form of tobacco, since this is believed to have links to cancers of the mouth and throat as well as other serious conditions such as heart disease.

If you have a dry mouth, ask your doctor if your medication might be the cause. If so, you may be able to change to a different drug that does not have this side effect. If this cannot be done, ensure that you keep your mouth hydrated by drinking plenty of clear fluids or chewing sugar-free gum. Remember that alcohol causes dehydration, so this should be avoided.

Brush and floss your teeth regularly and use an antibacterial mouthwash too. This can help to prevent plaque from building up too quickly. You may prefer to use the new interdental brushes rather than floss to clean in between your teeth.

Ensure you have regular check-ups with your dentist so that any problems are recognised early. A dental professional can also give you tips on oral care and pinpoint any areas that you may be missing in your daily routine. Dental care in nursing homes and dental care in care homes can be arranged on an individual basis, or a local practitioner may hold regular clinics in the home. Whether you are living in your own home, a care home or a nursing home, you will be able to access professional dental care to ensure that your oral health is maintained as you grow older.

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