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Oral Health

Adult and Senior Oral Health

Link to Good Oral Health is Ageless videoThe link between oral health and general health is an important key to our total health and well-being. Research has shown an association between inflammation in the mouth and chronic inflammatory conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Teeth are meant to last a lifetime! Dental care for adults is much the same as for younger people except with age different issues arise. These include caring for dentures, gum disease, decay in the roots of teeth, dry mouth, having problems holding a toothbrush and replacing missing teeth and broken fillings. Additionally taking medications and certain systemic health conditions can impact a person’s oral health. Older adults have more dental diseases; decay, gum disease, and oral cancers.

Here are some tips for good oral health:

  • Brush twice daily and floss your teeth every day.  Decay and gum disease increase with aging.
  • Drink fluoridated water and use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride protects against tooth decay at any age.  Fluoride also helps rebuild damaged teeth.
  • Eat healthy foods –avoid sugary and starchy snacks. Don’t forget the  5-a-Day helping of fiber rich fruits and vegetables!
  • Avoid tobacco. Smokers have a 4 times risk for having gum disease. Tobacco use is also a high risk factor for oral cancer. Thinking about quitting? Check out: Quit for Keeps.
  • Limit alcohol. Heavy use of alcohol is a strong risk factor for oral cancer. Alcohol and tobacco together equal higher risk for oral cancer.   Click herefor more information on oral cancer.
  • Visit the dentist regularly. Dental check ups can find early oral health problems such as gum disease, tooth decay and pre-cancerous and cancerous sores in the mouth.  Ask your dental professional for helpful tips on oral hygiene care if you are having difficulty brushing and flossing.

Some other reasons why regular dental visits are important.

  • Dentures. You still need to visit the dentist even if you do not have any teeth.
  • Diabetics. Need to maintain control of their disease. A complication of diabetes is a risk for gum disease. Read more on the Diabetes ABC’s.
  • Medications. Give your dentist a list of all your medications including herbals an over the counter medications.
  • Cancer Treatment. Be sure to have a dental check before beginning cancer treatment. Click here for more information.

CDC Resources: http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/topics/adult.htm
American Dental Association resources:  http://ada.org
American Academy of General Dentistry resources:  http://agd.org