Smile care is simple, right? We brush our teeth, and we floss them. If we’re concerned about common problems like stains, we might also see the dentist for periodic teeth whitening. These habits can continue for a lifetime. They should continue for a lifetime. However, the way we care for our teeth is not as straightforward as it may seem. Age brings inevitable changes to the body. As we work with patients who have more candles on their birthday cakes, there are certain challenges that we have to be mindful of. We want to discuss them here.
Age-Related Dental Challenges
One of the common problems that tend to occur as we get older is that we lose a bit of our dexterity. This could be due to arthritis and the stiffness and pain it causes. Whatever the underlying reason for hand pain and stiffness, there are often dental repercussions. We don’t think about this connection between the hands and the mouth, but we should. Older individuals who find that hand pain keeps them from being able to brush and floss their teeth can work with their dentist to create strategies that will protect the smile from unnecessary damage. Some suggestions that can immediately improve oral care include using an electric toothbrush and flossing with a tool that holds the string of floss for you.
Medication Side Effects
Most medications have a few side effects. Even though doctors discuss these with their patients, it is easy to overlook what those side effects may ultimately do to the quality of life. Some medications inhibit saliva production, resulting in the chronic dry mouth. Until you live with this condition, it doesn’t sound like much to worry about. However, in real life, dry mouth can be the source of a lot of stress. Patients who routinely feel as though they are not producing enough saliva are encouraged to take frequent sips of water. This can be helped by carrying a water bottle at all times. Sugar-free gum and candies can also help. Additionally, dental care is vital to the prevention of dental disease related to acidity, which can become problematic without sufficient saliva. Finally, it may be possible to make adjustments to medical care to better support oral health.