Dental Hygienists Provide Crucial Oral Health Tips For Seniors To Avoid Serious Diseases As They Age
Healthy Aging Canada’s aging population has unique oral health needs.
Due to the often inadequate oral care and the use of medications that may affect saliva flow in the mouth, seniors are particularly vulnerable to oral conditions that are recognized as risk factors for diabetes, lung, and heart disease.
"All older adults should be encouraged to brush their natural teeth in the morning and at night, and to remove plaque in between the teeth daily."
Many seniors, along with their caregivers and families, do not recognize the importance of maintaining the health of their mouth — whether they have their natural teeth or are denture wearers.
Plaque, consisting of food debris and bacteria, accumulates in the mouth daily and has the potential to cause cavities, gum disease, odours, and infections. Research gathered by the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association confirms a high prevalence of gum disease and tooth decay among senior populations.
All older adults should be encouraged to brush their natural teeth in the morning and at night, and to remove plaque in between the teeth daily. Dentures and gums should be brushed at least once a day, and dentures should be removed for several hours each day.
Older adults who experience dry mouth should sip water, avoid acidic foods, and use sugar-free chewing gum or lozenges. In addition, regular dental hygiene visits for preventive oral care are essential.
Dental hygienists are skilled professionals who provide primary health care in a variety of settings, including mobile dental hygiene practices that allow them to treat seniors wherever they live.
Dental hygienists assess seniors for oral health problems, provide preventive services, and develop oral care plans to help them achieve and maintain optimal oral and overall health, enhancing their quality of life for years to come.