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August 26, 2016

Your teeth are subject to the aging process just as much as the rest of your body. How they age depends on how well you have taken care of both your gums and teeth over the span of your life. Older adults need to continue to work towards the prevention of cavities and gum disease by practicing regular brushing and flossing, whether they still have their natural teeth or dentures. Seniors living at home or in residential care in Penticton need to maintain proper oral health care either on their own or with assistance, as part of maintaining their overall health.

Older adults are keeping their teeth much longer than our ancestors. Maintaining your teeth can be done by:

  • Brushing and flossing twice daily
  • Using toothpaste with fluoride
  • Avoiding or limiting alcohol and tobacco (which contribute to oral cancers)
  • Limiting the intake of sweets
  • Regular dental visits with a dental practitioner

Tooth decay can happen at any age, therefore seniors need to continue to fight against cavities. Decay of the tooth root is more common in seniors as their gums recede, exposing more soft tissue which decays more rapidly than tooth enamel. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, happens slowly over time and with minimal pain or discomfort. Therefore, seniors without a diligent oral health care ritual, are likely to experience gum disease as a result. Signs of gum disease include:

  • Bleeding of the gums
  • Gums pulling away from teeth
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Change in bite
  • Change in the fit of dentures

Regular dental checkups can help to detect gum disease or any other oral health problems for seniors living in retirement care or still living at home. It is important for all adults to continue to see their dentist, even after moving on to a senior home or a retirement home.

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