As we age, we tend to think that dentures are inevitable, but that’s simply not always the case! In fact, according to the Ontario Dental Hygienist Association, many seniors are keeping their natural teeth longer. This is due to many seniors maintaining their proper dental hygiene and mouth care.
Establishing good habits when it comes to mouth care is as important to those who have their natural teeth, a partial denture, and even for those who have full dentures. The ODHA states that there is growing evidence linking periodontal (gum) disease to a variety of serious health conditions including heart disease, stroke and respiratory disorders. Diabetes and oral health are also connected. Gum disease may worsen existing diabetes or increase complications associated with diabetes.
Prevention & Maintenance
In earlier blogs, we have discussed the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating right. Having proper nutrition not only improves overall health, but oral health as well. The food we eat supplies the nutrients that the body, bones, teeth and gums need to renew tissues and help fight infection and disease, including periodontal (gum) disease. If you have questions regarding proper nutrition, check out Canada’s Food Guide here for some options and insights, or consult your doctor.
Daily Hygiene = Brush, Floss, & Rinse!
According to the ODHA, these three components to oral hygiene care can help to prevent gum disease and help to support strong natural teeth and healthy gums.
Gently brush natural teeth twice a day, including the inside, outside, and chewing surfaces of both the top and bottom teeth. It is also important to brush the tongue, gums and roof of the mouth to tone gum tissue and remove bacteria.
Floss once a day to clean between the teeth to help remove any debris and buildup. Your dental hygienist may provide you with floss options according to your needs or the needs of your elderly loved ones.
Using a fluoridated mouth wash, rinse to decrease cavity susceptibility, if recommended by a dental hygienist.
Dentures, whether full or partial, can accumulate food and plaque and need to be cleaned. They should be brushed thoroughly to loosen food debris and reduce odours within the mouth. Dentures should be brushed thoroughly twice a day using warm water and mild soap or denture paste. Commercial denture cleaning solutions do not replace the need to brush.
The ODHA recommends the following tips for Denture Care
Brush over a sink partially filled with water and lined with a washcloth to prevent breakage in the event the denture is accidentally dropped.
Do not use toothpaste or cleansers that can scratch, and never use bleach to clean or soak dentures as it can discolour and weaken them.
When not wearing dentures, or at night, soak them in water or a denture cleaning solution to prevent drying.
After any soaking, rinse dentures in warm water.
Denture cleansers may be toxic if ingested. They should not be gargled or swallowed.
Regular visits to a Dental Professional provides an opportunity for the screening of oral cancer. It’s recommended that between visits, we check our mouths and watch for red or white patches, sores that do not heal after a few days, swelling or changes in colour of the tissue. Also, check lips, all areas of the tongue, gums, palate, floor of the mouth and inside the cheeks. Report any changes to a dental professional
Proper care of natural teeth and dentures can extend their life and contribute to a healthy mouth. Making regular visits to your Dental Hygienist and Dental professionals can also ensure that your teeth, dentures, and mouth are healthy and clean.