Mouth and teeth
Oral Health - Elderly
As we get older we are more prone to certain oral problems but with good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist, it is possible to keep your mouth and teeth healthy throughout your life.
As a consequence of ageing and sometimes due to some diseases and medication, older people have a higher risk of developing oral problems.
Some of the most common situations are: tooth loss, gum disease, oral cancer, reappearance of cavities, problems related to dental prostheses and the sensation of dry mouth.
It is also normal for some changes to occur in the colour of the teeth, which can become more yellowish and/or brownish, and changes in the length of the teeth, which can appear longer due to receding gums or shorter due to wear and tear.
The key to having a healthy mouth at 85, is the same as the key for 65, 45 or 25.
Healthy Mouth for Life
Most common complaints at this stage:
- Maintain good oral hygiene;
- Avoid risk factors (smoking, diet high in sugars, excessive alcohol consumption);
- Visit your dentist regularly, informing him/her of all your health problems and the medicines you take. Also be aware that even for those who have no teeth, and use (or not) a dental prosthesis, seeing the dentist is important to prevent lesions that may appear in the mouth.
More than the aesthetic aspect, the loss of teeth can affect chewing, speech and even the health of other teeth, which is why it is common to use prosthetics.
There are important precautions to be taken with dentures, especially when they are removable, which you should be aware of:
- Clean them frequently, after removing them and with products indicated for this purpose, preferably after every meal
- Remove them during sleep, so that the mucous membranes can rest for a few hours, unless the dentist indicates otherwise
- Replace periodically
- Conserve in water with appropriate disinfectants
It is a common problem in the elderly and is due to a decrease in the amount of saliva produced by the salivary glands, often caused by taking certain medications. It can be alleviated or solved with some simple measures such as:
Drinking water frequently
* Chewing gum (sugar free) as this stimulates salivation
* Avoid tobacco, caffeinated drinks or alcohol
* Avoid using elixirs (they contain alcohol) and ask your pharmacist for advice about a product that relieves this sensation.
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