Adults Over 60
With significant advancements in dentistry and medical research, it is now virtually possible to have a perfectly healthy set of teeth even in later life.
Maintaining good oral health habits is especially crucial today because bad bacteria in the mouth can cause significant medical disorders as well as injure your teeth and gums. Infections in the mouth have been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia, and other frequent health concerns in the elderly, according to research.
Brushing and flossing everyday, visiting your dentist on a regular basis, and eating nutritious meals are all it takes to have a happy smile. A healthy grin is one that lasts a lifetime.
Even bedridden senior patients should speak with their dentist about their dental hygiene care, so that the dentist can make appropriate preparations for a home visit.
What you consume determines who you are, and your teeth aid in this process.
Your teeth are just as crucial as any other body part.
Brush and Floss Daily
Brushing and flossing your teeth is essential for both you and your grandchildren. Even if you haven’t had a cavity in years, your risk of developing one increases as you get older. Dry mouth, a common adverse effect of many prescription drugs, is one of the reasons.
Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day. To get to those hard-to-reach places, choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and a compact head. Replacing your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles become ragged, is a good idea. Try an electric toothbrush if you have arthritis or another illness that limits your mobility.
Floss between your teeth at least once a day. If floss is too difficult to use, use a floss pick or little brushes designed to clean between teeth.
Bacteria adhere to your teeth as well as your full or partial dentures if you don’t clean them on a daily basis. If you have dentures, remember to clean them on a daily basis using special denture cleansers. Do not use toothpastes or household cleaners on natural teeth since they are too abrasive and can harm dentures, which can be costly to replace.
To maintain the lining of your mouth healthy, take your dentures out for at least four hours every 24 hours. At night, it’s advisable to take off your complete or partial dentures. Your dentist will give you instructions on how long you should wear your dentures each day.
Visit a dentist on a regular basis.
Regular dental checkups should be done at least once a year, according to the IDA. Please don’t wait until you’re in pain to seek help. The nerves inside your teeth shrink and become less sensitive as you get older. It’s possible that by the time you notice pain from a cavity, it’s too late and you’ll lose your tooth. Oral cancer and gum disease, for example, are more serious illnesses that your dentist would search for, and they don’t always cause pain until the latter stages of the disease. It’s more difficult and expensive to treat by then.
Bring the following information with you to your dentist’s appointment:
- List your current prescriptions, including vitamins, herbal therapies, and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.
- The following is a list of medical conditions and allergies.
- All health care professionals, doctors, and your former dentist’s information and phone numbers.
- Information about your emergency contacts, who can assist you in making decisions in the event of a medical emergency.
- Dental insurance or Medicaid cards are two options.
- Even if you don’t wear your dentures or partials.
- Talk to your dentist about how to safely store and dispose of any unused, unwanted, or expired drugs, especially if you have children in the house.
Quitting smoking is never too late. Gum disease, teeth decay, and tooth loss are all exacerbated by smoking. It also hinders the healing process after dental operations and has been shown to lower the success rate of dental implants. Consult your dentist about quitting smoking. To help you quit smoking for good, your dentist may prescribe or recommend tobacco cessation programmes, over-the-counter medicines, or prescription pharmaceuticals.
It’s never too late to make a healthy lifestyle a priority. God has bestowed upon you the gift of life. Take care with it.
Concerns for Adults Over 60
Prevention of mouth dryness
Dry mouth can be caused by ageing, certain medical problems, and drugs.
Your dentist can provide you advice on how to alleviate your dry mouth symptoms and avoid cavities.
Here are a few frequent suggestions:
- Oral moisturisers, such as a spray or mouthwash, are available over the market.
- If you want to change the drug or the dosage, talk to your doctor.
- Drink a lot of water. Carry a water bottle with you and drink before you become thirsty. Your mouth has to be lubricated on a regular basis.
- To increase saliva production, chew sugar-free gum or lozenges.
- To help preserve moisture in the air, invest in a humidifier.
- Coffee, alcohol, carbonated soft drinks, and acidic fruit juices are among meals and beverages that irritate dry mouths.
- To protect your teeth from cavities, your dentist may use a fluoride gel or varnish.
- Consult your dentist about your situation.
Due to numerous health conditions, many senior people are already on a number of prescription medicines. Taking an additional antibiotic before a dental procedure may so seem inconvenient and unnecessary to them. Antibiotics’ interactions with other drugs may also be a source of concern for the elderly.
What’s important to remember is that an antibiotic is required prior to many dental treatments, especially if you have diabetes, heart disease, or bone problems. It’s possible that you don’t think it’s important. What do your heart and joints have to do with your teeth, after all? However, there are several disorders that pose a high risk of infection, and an antibiotic may be prescribed before some dental treatments.
To avoid further difficulties, the IDA suggests that you inform your dentist of all your medical conditions as well as any prescribed medications.
Osteoporosis and jaw bone
Antiresorptive agents—medicines that help strengthen bones—have been linked to osteonecrosis, a rare but deadly illness that can cause significant jawbone damage.
Antiresorptive drugs, such as Fosamax, Actonel, Atelvia, Didronel, and Boniva, are taken orally to help prevent or cure osteoporosis (bone weakening) and Paget’s disease of the bone, an illness characterised by aberrant bone breakdown and regrowth that can lead to deformity. Other antiresorptive medications, such as Boniva IV, Reclast, and Prolia, are injected. These medications are given in higher and more frequent doses as part of cancer treatment to alleviate bone pain and hypercalcemia of malignancy (excess calcium in the blood) associated with metastatic breast cancer, prostate cancer, and multiple myeloma.
While jaw osteonecrosis can arise on its own, it is more prevalent following dental operations that alter the bone or surrounding tissues (for example, pulling a tooth).
According to the IDA, you should inform your dentist if you are using antiresorptive medications so that he or she can factor that into your treatment plan. Even if you’re on medicine, eat a calcium-rich diet and ask your doctor if you should take calcium and vitamin D supplements.
Many older persons suffer from gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, which is caused by bacteria in plaque irritating the gums, causing them to swell, redden, and bleed more easily. One of the reasons gum disease is so common among people is that it is generally painless until it has progressed to an advanced state. If left untreated, the gums will loosen from the teeth and produce pockets, which will trap food particles and plaque. Advanced gum disease can lead to tooth loss by destroying the gums, bone, and ligaments that support the teeth.
The good news is that gum disease can be cured or avoided totally with frequent dental appointments.
Periodontitis is a term for advanced gum disease. Chronic periodontitis can result in the loss of tooth-supporting tissue and bone, and it can worsen with time. Your teeth will feel loose and start moving around in your mouth if this happens. Adult periodontitis is the most prevalent type, however it can strike anyone at any age. It normally worsens gradually, but there are times when it accelerates.
The link between systemic disorders and periodontal diseases is still being investigated. While the evidence isn’t conclusive, several studies suggest that severe gum disease is linked to a variety of other health problems, including diabetes and stroke. The IDA recommends that you visit your dentist for a routine checkup and cleaning every six months. Brushing your teeth twice a day is recommended. If your gaps are wide, use an interdental brush or floss to clean the proximal portions of your teeth. Make use of mouthwash.
Each year, around 35,000 cases of mouth, throat, and tongue cancer are diagnosed. Most patients diagnosed with these cancers are 62 years old on average. Your dentist will examine you for any signs of oral cancer throughout your dental checkups.
Regular dental appointments are vital, according to the IDA, because oral cancer does not usually cause discomfort in its early stages, and early identification saves lives. Open sores, white or reddish spots, and changes in the lips, tongue, and mouth lining that last longer than two weeks are some of the symptoms you may notice.
If you smoke, chew tobacco, or do anything else that increases your risk of developing oral cancer, it’s time to quit. If you have a denture or a sharp tooth edge that is causing you pain in your tongue, lips, or cheeks, see your dentist. Chronic damage can put you at risk for mouth cancer.
Take care of yourself and don’t take your health for granted.
The following conditions are treated with pacemakers:
- Pacemakers are most typically used to treat bradyarrythmias, which are slow heart rhythms caused by a problem with the electrical conduction system of the heart (such as the SA node, AV node, or HIS- Purkinje system).
- Heart failure is a serious condition. This is known as biventricular pacing or cardiac resynchronization treatment (CRT).
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
- Syncope (fainting spells).
Electrical impulses are used by implantable cardiac devices like pacemakers and implantable defibrillators to help the heart maintain its correct beat.
Some ultrasonic instruments used by your dentist, including as ultrasonic scalers or equipment cleaning systems, have the potential to interact with these cardiac devices, resulting in an erratic heartbeat.
According to the IDA, it’s critical to keep your dentist informed about your overall health, including any medications or treatments you’re undergoing. He or she may want to avoid using specific ultrasonic instruments as part of your care in this scenario. It is not necessary to avoid dental treatment because you have a pacemaker or defibrillator. It’s as simple as tailoring your therapy to your individual requirements.
In fact, it is more important than ever to maintain good oral hygiene, as multiple studies have connected poor oral hygiene to an increased risk of stroke.
Sjögren’s syndrome (pronounced SHOW-grins) is a chronic autoimmune condition in which the immune system affects the body’s own moisture-producing glands, tear-secreting and salivary glands, and other organs.
Among the signs and symptoms are:
- Eyes and mouth are both dry.
- Other organs, such as the kidneys, gastrointestinal system, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and central nervous system, may also be dysfunctional.
- Joint ache and extreme weariness.
Nine out of ten patients with the condition are female.
Sjögren’s syndrome has no recognised aetiology. One of the most frequent autoimmune diseases is lupus. Sjögren’s syndrome can be dangerous to your oral health because of the decreased saliva flow. If you have dry mouth, the IDA suggests that you be proactive and discuss your treatment options with your dentist or physician.
Thrush (also known as Candidiasis or Moniliasis) is a fungal condition caused by the yeast Candida albicans multiplying rapidly. It’s a common occurrence among denture wearers. It mostly affects persons with weakened immune systems, such as the very young, the elderly, or those who are disabled by diseases like diabetes or leukaemia. Furthermore, patients with dry mouth syndrome are more likely to develop candidiasis. Candida may thrive following antibiotic therapy, which reduces the number of healthy microorganisms in the mouth.
Controlling candidiasis entails working on preventing or controlling the outbreak’s cause. It is critical to maintain good dental hygiene. The IDA recommends cleaning your dentures and removing them before going to bed. When the underlying cause of dry mouth is incurable or inevitable, saliva substitutes and prescription drugs may be beneficial.
Caretakers for Elderly
You might have a parent, spouse, or friend who struggles to keep their mouth healthy on their own. What can you do to assist?
There are 3 things that are crucial:
- Encourage them to brush and floss their teeth on a daily basis.
- Make sure they visit the dentist on a regular basis.
- Discuss their condition with the dentist if they are bedridden, and make arrangements for appropriate treatment at home or in a hospital.
Many problems can be avoided by following these steps, but tasks that once seemed simple can become extremely difficult. Talk to a dentist or hygienist if your loved one is having trouble brushing and flossing. They can offer helpful tips or suggest a different approach. Dentists who specialise in caring for the elderly and disabled are available. Pay close attention to the eating habits of those who wear dentures. Denture problems could be the cause if they’re having trouble eating or aren’t eating as much as they used to.
When you’re caring for someone who is bedridden, they may have so many health issues that it’s easy to overlook their oral health. However, it is still critical because bacteria from the mouth can be inhaled and cause pneumonia in the lungs.
According to the IDA, you should pay special attention to their oral hygiene.