Oral Hygiene for Seniors

Even if you’re not quite a senior yet, you shouldn’t let your aversion to identifying as “senior” make you skip this on principle. First of all, own up. Second of all, these are things you may need to know one day even if you don’t need to know right this minute. We’re inclined to figure that how one handles oral hygiene doesn’t get a whole lot different when one gets older, but a “whole lot different” is a rather subjective phrase. There are several issues about which only elders are concerned, and rather than figuring it all out for themselves, it helps to have certain advice reach them sooner rather than later.

Concerns Unique to Older Adults

No doubt, the first concern you’re likely to consider when pondering what concerns the elderly would have about oral hygiene that young people wouldn’t care about is dentures. Older adults tend to end up replacing certain teeth with dentures customized for their teeth. Depending on how old we’re talking, one might find it awfully difficult to hold a toothbrush during the golden years, which can be the result of any number of things.

Gum disease is a constant concern for the elderly, which dentists commonly aim to fix if not stave off in advance. It is often an issue with which older adults have to concern themselves often. Tooth decay is yet another common problem as people grow older. In fact, you may not have to wait all that long for the roots of your teeth to start decaying depending on how efficient your dental health habits have been all these many years. Indeed, this is the time of one’s life when those habits come back to score you on how well or how poorly you’ve been doing.

Denture Concerns Specifically

Since dentures are so common—to the extent that they are, of course, used not just for the elderly but for a myriad of conditions—it seems prudent to ensure that any denture-related problems are addressed for all whom they may concern. Many who have dentures don’t necessarily know how to care for them, but you should treat them the way you would treat any of your other teeth throughout the day. It remains as important as ever that your brushing habits include the massage of your gum line whether there’s a tooth in there or five consecutive gaps. The only difference might be that, as you’ve grown older, it has likely become more incumbent upon you to use a soft-bristled brush prior to inputting your dentures.

When it comes to cleaning your dentures, no, you do not want to brush and floss them the exact same way you do your other teeth. There is now a need to be more thorough. It behooves you to fill a bowl with tepid water and drop the false teeth into the water. This is the best way to store them overnight or for any period really. You may have been given a fluid denture cleanser, perhaps by your dentist or at a clinic of some kind. Place them in this if you have such a thing, but it’s hardly a necessity.

Every five years, you should be replacing those chompers. Swap them out for a new set. This is especially important for dentures that you wear daily. It is equally important to clean them every day to keep them from staining and to sustain good oral health without risk of infections. Rinse the dentures out with running water, wet your brush, and brush your dentures with Efferdent, Polident, or any of those brand-name denture cleansers claiming to be better than the others. Honestly, dishwashing liquid is perfectly fine. Don’t use normal toothpaste, though, because it’s too rough for your dentures and may very well scratch them. Just brush gently, and make sure that you brush each surface. There are actual brushes designed for cleaning dentures, but any toothbrush with soft bristles will suffice.