Dental care for seniors is not an oxymoron. Indeed, many grandparents still have some to a lot of their own teeth and therefore it’s very important that they take good care for them.
According to the American Dental Association, (ADA), 75 percent of people over the age of 65 now keep at least some of their teeth. But, 20 per cent of the aged suffer from untreated tooth decay and 70% suffer from gum disease. And, 20 per cent of seniors have none of their original teeth.
The consequences of seniors not taking care of their teeth can be devastating, The ADA says that untreated gum disease is linked to heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Dental Care: Dental Tips For Seniors From The ADA
The ADA wants all seniors to keep their teeth in the very best and healthy condition. They strongly recommend that seniors follow this daily protocol; it will keep your entire body healthy and functional.
Brush twice a day
Remember, brush you teeth twice a day with a fluoridated tooth paste. In 3 months, you can see a 21% reduction in dental plaque and an 11% reduction in gum inflammation.
Flossing Is Important
Flossing once a day reduces gingivitis, or mild gum disease, as it reaches the area between your teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach.according to a 2011 review of 12 studies by Cochrane.
For seniors, this is very important, as the gum tissue in seniors shrinks, leaving bigger gaps where food can get stuck.
According to a recent study, flossing is more effective before brushing as it loosens food particles that brushing can then sweep away.
Eat the right foods
Proper diet for seniors is key. Three or four servings of dairy products such as low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese daily. These foods are rich in both calcium and phosphorus, which help promote strong teeth.
Also add citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers and leafy greens. They’re all rich in vitamin C, which promotes gum health.
Drink water and avoid sodas as they have high acid content which is bad for teeth.
Make Dental appointments 1-2 times a year.
Annual or even better semi-annual dental check ups are very important.
Nerves inside your teeth become smaller and less sensitive as you age, so if you feel a cavity, it may already be at an advanced stage. You may lose that tooth and even require more extensive and costly treatment.
You will also be screened for oral cancer, which has a higher occurrence in the aged population.
Finally, if you are a smoker or suffer from type-2 diabetes, your dentist may want to see you every 3-6 months.
Make sure you have dental insurance
The statistics are not good.
Less than 40 percent of people over the age of 65 carry dental insurance. Perhaps that’s because it’s expensive.
Costs for seniors averaged $913 per person in 2015. Medicare does not cover routine dental cleanings, exams, or root canals.
An option is to use a community clinic or university dental school, as they offer low cost dental care provided by dental students.
You can also search for a low cost dental plan at the National Association of Dental Plans (NADP) website.