Oral Health Maintenance Is Important To Keep Up At Any Age, Especially For Seniors
“Older patients easily give up on their oral health not realizing the importance of teeth to their overall health”, says Dr. Glicksman. Unfortunately, poor oral health has been linked to serious systemic illnesses, including diabetes, stroke, hypertension, myocardial infarction and aspiration pneumonia.
Everyone is familiar with the brush, floss and rinse mantra. No need to repeat those instructions here. Other suggestions to improve oral health and make brushing easier are:
- Place a tennis ball or foam sleeve on the toothbrush. This will make it easier to grip the handle.
- Use an inexpensive battery toothbrush from the grocery or drug store. This reduces the amount of effort necessary to clean the teeth.
- Get an egg timer (3 minutes) to brush for a sufficient amount of time.
- Brush teeth after breakfast.
- Rinse with a non-alcoholic mouth rinse or plain water. A mouth rinse with alcohol will dry out the mouth and gum tissue.
Also, sugarless hard candy can help with saliva production if there are problems with dry mouth from medications.
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Joel Glicksman, DDS, is a dentist in Aventura and Pembroke Pines, FL, and has extensive experience with geriatric dentistry.