Many believe that the elderly no longer need good oral hygiene and meticulous dental care owing to the fact that most of their teeth have already been lost. Contrary to what you might be inclined to think, oral and dental health works across the entire lifespan. From the moment babies start using their gums to bite on the nipple when feeding until the time the jaws are clenched in death, oral care is needed.
Oral Health Changes in the Elderly
The elderly requires more meticulous oral and dental care than most. This is because of their diminished strength as well as reduced sensory and perceptual abilities. Their neuromuscular functioning may not be as efficient as it was when they were younger. This makes it more difficult for them to brush and take care of their remaining teeth.
The overall structure of the elderly teeth has also been degraded over time. The bone density of their jaws may make chewing more difficult. Control of the muscles of the tongue may also make feeding a challenge. All of these can significantly contribute to poor oral and dental health.
The elderly are also more prone to the development of gum diseases as well as cancers of the oral cavity and the throat. Many of their teeth have already been lost and the salivary secretions have greatly diminished with time.
Ensuring Oral and Dental Health in the Elderly
While some people might consider it quite unnecessary, regular brushing and flossing of the remaining teeth should constitute the daily oral and dental hygiene regimen. Brushing the teeth at least twice a day should continue well into old age. Using toothpaste that contains fluoride and flossing once should help maintain what is left of the elderly individual’s dentition.
If the elderly has dentures, he needs to learn how to properly care for them. Cleaning them regularly with a solution designed specifically for the cleaning of dentures and soaking them in warm water when not in use should form a routine care for dentures.
Seeing an NHS dentist in Slough regularly should not cease with old age. In fact, the regularity and frequency of the dental visits can be increased in order to identify other potential problems that can significantly weaken the already-compromised oral and dental health.
Oral hygiene starts young and goes on well beyond old age. This should already be apparent as a child so that when you reach old age, the habit of taking care of your oral and dental health will be carried over until you are already in your twilight years.