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Dental Hygiene Awareness for Seniors

Many people would agree that going to the dentist is one of the least favorite activities. Maintaining proper dental hygiene however, is extremely important to your oral and overall health. Many barriers prevent the elderly from receiving the proper oral care that they need. Some factors include economic disadvantages, being uninsured or being a member of a racial or ethnic minority group. In addition, being disabled, home-bound or institutionalized also increases the risk of poor oral health. October is Dental Hygiene Awareness Month.

Here are some ways the elderly can maintain good oral health:


1. Brush and Floss Daily


According to the CDC, 1 in 5 adults age 65 and older have untreated tooth decay. In addition, nearly 2 in 3 adults age 65 and older have gum disease. Brushing and flossing removes dental plaque and reduces the risk both tooth decay and gum disease. Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss between your teeth daily. If you have trouble flossing, your dentist can provide toothbrush recommendations.


2. Monitor Changes


The risk of oral cancer increases with age. If you notice any changes that last more than two weeks, contact your doctor. Changes to monitor include a sore spot on your lip, mouth, or throat, trouble chewing, swallowing, or moving your tongue or jaw, ear pain and others. Many older adults take medication that causes dry mouth. This can make it difficult to talk, eat, and swallow and can lead to tooth decay or infection. If this occurs, talk to your doctor.


3. Maintain Healthy Habits


Reducing sugary treats and drinks in your diet can help to prevent tooth decay, and it’s worth mentioning that it is better for your overall health. Smoking is also devastating to oral health as smoking increases your risk for gum disease and puts you at higher risk for oral cancer.


We hope these tips were helpful. If you or a loved one needs assistance with personal care activities like grooming, bathing, or eating, contact Quality of Life Home Care and Hospice Agency to see how we can be of assistance!








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