Better Oral Health in Later Life

 

Maintaining good oral health is vital to developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age. In addition, oral health is a key indicator of overall health in older age. Ensuring better oral health in later life enables you to live and enjoy a vital existence in older age.older woman with dentist - dreamstime s 21154743

 

What can you do to achieve better oral health later in life?  Here are a few critical insights and suggestions.

  1. Care for your entire mouth and throat. Monitor and care for your tongue, cheeks, and throat.. Ensure that you can comfortably and effectively chew, swallow and speak. Decline in these functions can lead to impaired swallowing, swallowing disorders, malnutrition, and withdrawal from social contact.
  2. Your dentist may recommend exercises to strengthen muscles in and around your mouth. This could be as important as good oral hygiene in maintaining function. Also, attend to the variety of your diet and be sure to include hard types of foods – raw vegetables and fruits, for example.
  3. If appropriate, try to facilitate cooperation between your medical doctors and your dentist. This can be helpful when treating diabetes, cancer, and a number of other conditions.
  4. If you are in a nursing home, make plans with your dentist and your family to ensure your dental health.  In many cases, the staff of nursing homes lack the time and the training to assist you with oral health. It may be up to you to ensure quality dental hygiene, regular dental visits, and identification and treatment of any emerging problems, such as cavities, gum disease, loose teeth, sores in your mouth, and more.
  5. Act immediately and effectively in response to any emerging dental problems. Delaying action can result in further damage to the tooth or teeth. Losing teeth directly affects your diet, your speech, your appearance, and your sense of well-being. Caries (cavities) are a problem throughout life. But root caries (at the root of the tooth) are common in older age.

Maintaining and protecting your oral health is important to your general health and to your happiness and vitality. Your dentist and dental hygienist can help you maintain excellent dental health in older age.