It's no secret that many older adults end up having to replace some or all of their teeth with implants or dentures. While there are many factors that contribute to tooth loss in older adults, one factor is that these individuals don't always take the best care of their teeth. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help keep your elderly parent's teeth healthy to minimize the chances they'll need dentures.
Buy them a stockpile of toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Older adults sometimes have a hard time shopping for themselves due to transportation and mobility issues. They can also be a bit forgetful. Replacing one's toothbrush is important in order to prevent bacterial buildup (which can lead to tooth decay), but your parent may not remember to buy a new toothbrush or keep good track of when it needs to be replaced. Buy them a stockpile of toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste so they always have them on hand. Then, remind them to change to a new toothbrush every three months as recommended by the ADA.
Schedule their dentist's appointments for them.
Forgetfulness can also lead to missed dental checkups. Decay that would be easily fixed with a filling can easily become severe enough to warrant extraction of the tooth if your parent misses a few checkups. So, help your parent call to make their dental checkups and other appointments. Write these appointments on your own calendar so you can double check that your parent has a way to get to them and even transport them to the dentist if needed.
Help them explore healthier beverages and foods.
Since most older adults are home for much or all of the day, it's common for them to snack and to sip on beverages like coffee or tea throughout the day. If they choose sugary foods or drinks, this can greatly perpetuate tooth decay. Talk to your parent about choosing snacks and drinks that are lower in sugar. You can help them explore alternative sweeteners – like Splenda and stevia – for their coffee and tea. Help them stock up on snacks like nuts, cheese, and sliced veggies that are low in sugar and great for munching.
It's easy for a little tooth decay to quickly turn into extensive decay in an older adult. Ensuring they have the tools they need for good brushing, attend regular dental appointments, and make healthy food and beverage choices will go a long way towards maintaining your parent's dental health.
I was very unhappy with the way that my front teeth looked. They were crooked and stained with an ugly yellow tint. I asked my dentist if there was anything that could be done to improve them. After discussing the options with my dentist, I decided to have crowns put on my front teeth. The procedure was painless and I wish that I had done it sooner. My name is Constance Graham and I am writing this blog to inform others about cosmetic dentistry. If you don’t like the way your teeth look, speak to your dentist about improving your smile. There are various cosmetic procedures that you can have done such as veneers, crowns, teeth whitening, and dental implants. I hope you use the information in this blog to learn more about cosmetic dentistry and how it can help you.