May is designated as Older Americans Month. One common cause of cavities in older adults is dry mouth. Why? Because of the medications people take.
Therefore, this is just one reason why it’s important to tell your dentist about any current medications you’re taking. Most importantly, we here at Dr. Nick’s WHITE & healthy can make recommendations to help relieve dry mouth and prevent cavities. Here are some common recommendations:
- Use over-the-counter oral moisturizers, such as a spray or mouthwash.
- Talk to your dentist about changing medications or dosage.
- Drink more water.
- Chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production.
- Keep a humidifier somewhere in your home to keep moisture in the air.
- Avoid foods and drinks that irritate the dry mouth, like coffee, alcohol, or soda.
- Have your dentist apply a fluoride gel or varnish to protect your teeth from cavities.
Did you know that many older adults have gum, or periodontal disease, caused by the plaque buildup? This can irritate your gums, making them swollen, red and likely to bleed.
If Left Untreated
If you leave this untreated, your gums can pull away from the teeth and form pockets where even more plaque may collect. In conclusion, with regular dental visits, gum disease can be treated or prevented entirely.
Caregiving for an Elderly Loved One
Do you have a parent, spouse or friend for instance who has difficulty maintaining a healthy mouth on their own? How can you help? Two things are critical:
- Firstly, help them keep their mouth clean with reminders to brush and floss daily.
- Secondly, make sure they get to a dentist regularly.
Talk To A Dentist
Lastly, if your loved one has trouble brushing or flossing, talk to a dentist who can provide helpful tips. For those who wear dentures, pay attention to their eating habits. Are they having trouble eating or not as eating as much as usual? It could be dentures.
For More Information
Finally, if you need any assistance or tips, please contact Dr. Nick’s WHITE & healthy at 813.445.7162. In other words, it’s very important to maintain dental care as you age.