Dental Care Q/A for the elderly
Is tooth loss inevitable?
No. With proper care and regular visits to your dentist, seniors teeth can be saved for life. Gum disease and tooth decay can be prevented at any age, if the proper attention is given to it.
What are the most common oral problems in the elderly?
As you age, your gums can recede (shrink), making your teeth a little more sensitive. Your dentist will show you the most effective way to brush your teeth to reduce the risk of gum problems, and will recommend a mouthwash that reduces tooth sensitivity.
You may have difficulty brushing your teeth if you have problems with hand or arm mobility, or if you have poor vision. Your dentist can advise you and recommend products to make oral care easier. It is often advisable to purchase a magnifying mirror and make sure you have good lighting.
If you have a bridge or denture to replace a missing tooth, you may have special needs and thus may have a different set of problems keeping your mouth clean. Your dentist can help you with these problems.
Some people take medications regularly, which can cause dry mouth. Saliva protects teeth from cavities. If you have dry mouth, see your dentist. Over-the-counter oral moisturizers, including artificial saliva, are available at most pharmacies.
I have dental health issues but dentistry is too costly in my country
You might give dental work abroad a shot. Turkey is becoming increasingly affordable for dental work and is known to give foreign patients extra attention, as they profit from the currency gap between countries. Turkish dentists are also known to be proficient at their crafts, as Turkey has been giving a bigger and bigger importance to dental work every single year. You might want to look into the Periodonta dental clinic, as they have become synonymous with high quality dentistry in Turkey, also expanding their teams due to an ever increasing demand for dental work in Turkey.
Are gum problems inevitable in old age?
Gum disease is caused by a build-up of dental plaque made up of bacteria. Plaque builds up on your teeth permanently. Plaque must be removed to prevent gum inflammation (swelling and pain). If this is not done, the gum bones may be affected over time. These bones support the roots of the teeth, so if they are affected, the teeth may start to wobble.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
Because gum problems are often painless, many people don’t realize they have them. Here are some common signs of gum disease:
- Bleeding gums when you brush your teeth
- Wobbly teeth
- receding gums
- Bad breath
Not everyone has all of the above symptoms, you may have only one of them and still qualify for different gum diseases. If you suspect you do in fact have a gum disease, it is advisable to book a visit to your doctor to take the right steps in your treatment.
Can cavities develop in old age?
Yes. The plaque that causes gum disease can also lead to tooth decay, especially if you eat and drink sugary foods and drinks frequently. The risk of tooth decay is especially high when the gums recede, because it exposes the neck of the tooth, which is not protected by the tooth enamel (the hard protective layer that covers most of the tooth).
How can I prevent gum disease and tooth decay?
- Thoroughly remove plaque from your teeth (and dentures, if you wear them) before bed and at least once more during the day.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste. There are many special toothpastes available, including anti-tartar and combination toothpastes.
- Clean between your teeth at least once a day with an interdental brush or floss.
- Reduce the frequency of sugar-containing foods and drinks, especially sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time, such as lollipops and mints.
- Visit your dentist regularly (as often as recommended).
What’s the right way to brush your teeth?
Use a small-headed, soft- or medium-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. To clean between your teeth, use an interdental brush or dental floss (or dental tape). If you have arthritis, you may have difficulty holding a toothbrush. To make brushing easier, buy a special tip that attaches to the handle of your toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes are ideal for people with limited manual dexterity. The handles of these toothbrushes are thicker than those of conventional brushes, making them easier to hold. In addition, the vibrating head makes brushing teeth much easier. Tests confirm that electric toothbrushes remove more plaque than regular toothbrushes, so they can be beneficial for everyone. There are many different oral care products available, and your dentist can tell you which ones are right for you.
How will I know if all the plaque has been removed?
You can use a special liquid that stains the plaque. This liquid is applied to the teeth with a cotton swab. There are also special chewable tablets with a similar action, available in dental clinics.
The harmless staining agent they contain will stain any areas of plaque accumulation that require further cleaning. Special attention should be given to the areas between the teeth and gums. The stained plaque is then removed with a toothbrush.
What should I do if I have missing teeth?
Dentures, bridges and implants replace lost or missing teeth and allow you to eat and smile with confidence.
Why do I have mouth ulcers?
Ulcers are caused by irritation of the oral mucosa by a broken tooth, an ill-fitting denture or sharp pieces of food. Once the cause of the irritation is removed, the ulcer will heal within 3 weeks. If the ulcer does not heal over a long period of time, see a dentist as soon as possible. Many serious diseases, such as oral cancer, are easier to treat if diagnosed by a dentist at an early stage during a routine dental check-up.