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Health and Medicine for Seniors

Seniors keeping teeth longer than ever, tips for keeping it up

Simple, routine dental care matters for senior citizens to save teeth and live healthier

smiling senior couple with healthy teethDec. 18, 2014 - Today, approximately 75 percent of senior citizens over age 65 have kept some or all of their teeth - a record -thanks to better preventive measures like community water fluoridation and daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).  The group offers some additional tips for keeping this dental progress going.

They point out that advances in dental care have also allowed dentists to save teeth that would have been lost in the past. But, maintaining a healthy mouth is a life-long goal, even for those who wear dentures, as it helps to prevent other health problems.

It can also be health for the pocket book, since dental care is not covered by Medicare.

An example of the health threat was pointed out in a recent article in the Journal of Dental Research. A study found that very elderly adults (ages 85 and older) in community-living settings who slept in dentures were at a higher risk of developing pneumonia because bacteria from the mouth could be inhaled into the lungs.

The ADA advises all people that bacteria that is allowed to linger in the mouth can cause tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss, which is why good dental health is important at any age.

For the elderly, and some seniors, caretakers can make all the difference in helping them to maintain healthy dental habits that can also benefit overall health.

 

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Here are the ADA’s top dental tips for seniors and their caregivers:

  ● Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, plus floss teeth once a day. If arthritis or dexterity is an issue, an electric toothbrush may be helpful.

  ● Clean dentures and gums daily; always remove dentures at night.

  ● Eat a healthy diet.

  ● Schedule and keep regular dental visits.

  ● Talk to the dentist about the signs and symptoms of dry mouth, which can be caused by medications, and may lead to tooth decay.

  ● Ask your dentist for written instructions about any specific at-home care routine that’s recommended for easy reference at home.

  ● Look for dental products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. When you see the ADA Seal on a package, you can be sure the product inside has been scientifically evaluated to be safe and effective.

-- Link to dental health information especially for those age 60 and over – MouthHealthy.org

-- Video on dental care for the elderly.

About the American Dental Association
The not-for-profit ADA is the nation’s largest dental association. For more information about the ADA, visit ada.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA
’s consumer website MouthHealthy.org.

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