The 100 Year Old Mouth
How to maintain a healthy mouth as you age.
Whether you are considering your own health or that of a loved one, it is important to understand the changes in oral health as we mature.
With the aging process, can also come the risk of decline in oral heath.
Contributing factors can include changes in body chemistry, side effects from medications and lack of dexterity.
While it may prove to be more challenging to maintain the same level of oral health as we age, it is absolutely possible with the correct regime!
Consider tailoring your cleanings to a shorter interval in order to keep up with your body’s natural increase in plaque and bacteria production. A healthy mouth does not bleed. Many people benefit from seeing their hygienist on a 2 or 3-month schedule. This allows the body to stay ahead of the bad bacteria that cause inflammation. These harmful bacteria are a leading cause in heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s.
Side effects from many medications can include dry mouth. This is a condition known as Xerotomia. Consult with you physician or dentist to determine if you may be affected.
A dry mouth means that you are at a higher risk for cavities. Without your bodies natural saliva production, there is no solution to “ wash and rinse” your teeth of sugars and acids. This means that you must be immaculate in your home care. Be sure to rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking to neutralize the pH.
Products like prescription toothpastes and moisturizing mouthwashes can also be supplemented to help improve saliva production and fight cavities.
Patients who have experienced decline in their dexterity may have difficulty thoroughly cleaning their mouth using traditional toothbrush and flossing methods. This becomes even more prevalent in those who are in assisted living. Using adjuncts like electric Sonicare toothbrushes, Waterpicks, or even requesting additional assistance from caregiving staff can be helpful solutions.
I hope that you find this informative! We are here to help guide you and your loved ones by designing a customized oral health routine. It is our privilege to keep you healthy and happy as you enjoy this journey through life!
Best of Health,
Nellie Benjamin, RDH