Dental 300 x 200As we age, it becomes even more important to practice good dental hygiene.

Senior citizens become more at risk of developing gum disease, tooth decay, cavities, discoloration and worn enamel. Unfortunately, dental health is often overlooked as people get older. Some people even mistakenly believe that once they get dentures, oral hygiene is less important.

Embassy Healthcare offers the following tips and things to keep in mind when it comes to dental hygiene as we get older:

  1. Maintain basic teeth care: Brush twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush and floss once a day. Clean out dentures once a day, removing them at night (for at least four hours a day).
  2. Dental health tied to pneumonia: Poor oral hygiene can increase the odds of senior citizens accidentally inhaling drink and food. In those with diminished lung function, this can lead to pneumonia – especially in those with other conditions such as dementia, stroke or lung disease.
  3. Gum disease linked to heart health: About 70 percent of adults 65 years of age and older have gum disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The risk of gum disease – which increases chances of heart attack and stroke – rises with the use of tobacco and poor nutrition.
  4. Go electric: Electric toothbrushes may be the best bet for seniors due to their ease of use (without hurting joints) and their ability to promote proper gum health.
  5. Don’t dry out: About a third of seniors deal with dry mouth, which can result from medications and worsen with age. Dry mouths have less saliva to help remove food from teeth, leading to cavities, plaque and gum disease.
  6. Use mouthwash daily: Mouthwash helps flush out food particles that brushing may miss. Varieties with alcohol may dry out the mouth more, so look for alcohol-free products.