Over 50

Why Proper Oral Health Care is Important as You Get Older

Most older adults want their teeth to last as long as they do. Proper oral health care can keep you smiling well into retirement if you follow some basic, preventive practices:

  • Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristle brush.
  • Flossing helps save your teeth by removing plaque between teeth and below the gum line that your toothbrush can’t reach.
  • Visit an oral health provider for a cleaning at least twice a year and let him/her know about any changes or updates in your medical history.

Click here to view a video news release from the American Dental Association about Senior Oral Health.

Here are definitions of some common oral health terms:

Gum Disease

Three out of four adults over age 35 will be affected by some sort of gum disease.  Symptoms include red, swollen gums and possible bleeding.  In more serious cases, your gums begin to recede and pull back from the teeth.  Left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss.

Oral Cancer

It often occurs in people over 40 years of age.  See a dentist immediately if you notice any red or white patches on your gums or tongue, sores that don’t heal within two weeks, or an unusual hard spot on the side of your tongue.

Dry Mouth

This happens when the salivary glands fail to work due to disease such as diabetes, changes in medication, certain medications, or cancer treatment.  This make it hard to eat, swallow, taste or speak.  Drink lots of water and avoid sweets, tobacco, alcohol and caffeine.

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