October is National Dental Hygiene Month! It’s time to raise awareness about the importance of good and proper oral health and hygiene. So, what exactly IS oral health? Healthy gums, strong teeth, and fresh breath are all components of oral health.

As we age, proper dental care is a crucial part of maintaining overall health, as it can prevent infections, gum disease, and tooth loss. No matter if we’re caring for our natural teeth, dentures, bridges, or other dental fixtures, seniors face a variety of unique oral concerns.

Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, and certain medications can cause our elderly loved ones to be at a higher risk for dental issues. Check out these risk factors for common oral health issues in seniors:

    • Dry mouth

    • Oral cancer

    • Yellowing or darkening of tooth

    • Gum disease

    • Uneven jawbone

    • Bacterial pneumonia

    • Tooth loss

    • Tooth decay

Don’t worry…getting older doesn’t necessarily lead to poor dental hygiene and ultimately senior dental problems. There are steps to take and tips to maintain good oral hygiene:

  • Stay up-to-date with dental visits for cleanings and checkups

  • Brush at least twice per day

  • Floss once per day or after mealtimes

  • Use an antiseptic mouth wash daily

  • Use fluoride toothpaste

  • Keep dentures clean and free from food

In addition to daily oral hygiene, it’s important to also visit your dentist at least once a year for a comprehensive oral exam, where the dentist can look for signs of any oral health problems. The best way to achieve good oral health is to prevent oral disease through daily brushing, flossing, and visiting a dentist regularly.