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Dentistry for Seniors: What You Need to Know

Elderly couple

It turns out that everything you learned about dental hygiene as a child still applies in your golden years. As a senior, you are at higher risk for many dental problems but it is still possible for you to keep your smile bright and healthy. After all, caring for your teeth and gums is just as important as caring for any other part of your body, whether you’re still in school or happily retired.

How Does Diet Affect Oral Health?

You are what you eat. If you’ve studied the many ways our diet affects us, then you know just how accurate this age-old phrase is. What you eat also has a tremendous influence on your energy levels, disease risk, and — you guessed it — dental health.

Sugar is one of the biggest causes of tooth decay, from babies to buggy bumpers. We gradually lose taste buds as we get older, which means you can’t quite savor your food like before. This leads to developing a craving for foods with more and more sugar, which increases oral bacteria and cavities.

If you find yourself craving sugar, try some sugar-free gum instead. It will not only be safer for your teeth, but the extra salivation will help rinse bacteria off your teeth.

Other types of foods to avoid include: sticky foods (honey, caramel, chewy candies), acidic food (citric fruits), and beverages that stain (coffee, tea, red wine).

The Healthy Alternatives

One of the best ways you can protect your teeth is by drinking plenty of water. Water not only helps keep your mouth clean; it also prevents dehydration — a prevalent cause of hospitalization among people over 65. Solid fruits such as pears and apples, along with fibrous veggies like celery and carrots, help clean away plaque while stimulating salivation. If you can tolerate dairy products, they are also a good source of vitamins and minerals that fight tooth decay.

Improve Your Smile with Dentures

Dentures are a great solution for people with missing teeth who still want to enjoy having a full, gorgeous smile. A full set of teeth is vital for both speaking and chewing and dentures or partials can improve your life in more ways than one. The goods news is, today’s removable prosthetics are custom made for a comfortable, natural look.

Implant Supported Dentures

If you are thinking about dentures, another way to go is with those supported by an implant. These dentures are attached to implants that have been surgically inserted into the jawbone, which act as artificial tooth roots.

The Benefits of Implant Supported Dentures

Implant supported dentures are permanent, and offer:

Comfort & Fit: Implant supported dentures require two to four implant posts per arch and feel just like your natural teeth.

Bone loss prevention: Unlike traditional dentures, implant supported dentures exercise the underlying bone, which encourages bone growth.

Appearance: Implant supported dentures look and feel exactly like your natural teeth.

Bite: Implant supported dentures can return up to 95 percent of your natural biting ability, compared to only 25 percent with traditional dentures.

Confidence: Never again will you have to think about your dentures slipping or falling out. In addition, you will be able to eat anything you want and will not have worry about what’s on the menu when you head out for a nice meal.

Cost-Effective: Full-denture implants can be expensive, but implant supported dentures are a much more economical choice.

Watch Out For Gum Disease

Among the many disease that become more common as people age is gum disease. Both gingivitis and periodontitis, the two main stages of gum disease, are far more likely in people over 30. Symptoms of gum infections include: pain when you chew, bad breath, and gums that are tender, swollen, red, and/or bleeding. The good news is that basic oral care like flossing and brushing daily and regular dental visits can go a long way in preventing these diseases.

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