Posts for: September, 2017
Like many people, you might be caring for an elderly parent or family member. That care should include a focus on their teeth and gums — a healthy mouth is vitally important to their overall health, nutrition and well-being. Because of the aging process, this can be challenging.
Here are 4 areas where you should focus your attention to assure the senior adult in your life has the healthiest mouth possible.
Make adjustments for hygiene. As we grow older, arthritis and similar conditions make brushing and flossing difficult to perform. You can help your senior adult keep up these vital tasks by switching to a powered toothbrush or refitting their brush with a bike handle or tennis ball to make gripping easier. Pre-loaded floss holders or water irrigators are effective alternatives to manual flossing if it becomes too difficult.
Have dentures or other appliances checked regularly. Many older people wear full or partial dentures. Due to the nature of these appliances, the risk of bone loss over time is greater, which can eventually affect their fit. Their dentist should check them regularly and reline or repair them if possible. Eventually, they may need a new appliance to match any changing contours in the mouth.
Be aware of age-related dental issues. Age-related conditions of both the mouth and the body (like osteoporosis, which can affect bone density) can impact dental health. For example, an older person can develop lower saliva flow, often due to medications they’re taking. This, as well as gastric reflux common in older people, increases acidity and a higher risk of tooth decay. Past dental work like fillings, crowns or bridges may also make hygiene and additional treatment more difficult.
Keep up regular dental visits. In light of all this, it’s crucial to keep up with regular dental visits for continuing teeth and gum health. Besides cleanings, these visits are also important for monitoring signs of tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease and oral cancer. It’s also a good opportunity to gauge the effectiveness of their hygiene efforts and suggest adjustments.
If you would like more information on dental care for older adults, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Aging & Dental Health.”
Life becomes much harder after you've lost most or all of your teeth. Luckily, dentures restore your smile and your ability to eat easily. Our Lansing, MI, dentist, Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler, shares a few denture benefits you'll want to think about when you consider tooth restoration options.
Dentures give you back your smile
It's quite a shock to lose a significant amount of teeth. In fact, you may not even recognize your own reflection at first after your teeth have been extracted. Like it or not, society places a high value on the appearance of your teeth. When you replace your lost teeth with dentures, you just might find it's easier to navigate social and business situations. More importantly, dentures help you feel good about the way you look again. Although your grandparents' dentures may have looked very artificial, today's dentures are designed to look completely natural. Most people won't even know that you're wearing dentures unless you tell them.
Dentures help keep you healthy
Eating is a challenge when you don't have teeth. Although you can certainly swallow soft foods, eating a soft diet isn't always particularly appetizing or nutritious. Healthy diets rely on a mixture of whole grains, legumes, lean meats, fruits and vegetables. When you don't receive needed vitamins and nutrients from foods, your health may begin to suffer. Dentures restore your ability to eat the foods you need to stay healthy. You may not be able to eat very hard foods with dentures, but you'll find that dentures allow you to eat nearly anything you want.
Dentures help you communicate
When your teeth are gone, it's hard to pronounce words clearly. Holding conversations with other people can become very frustrating as you struggle to make yourself understood. Unfortunately, your speech problem can be more than just an inconvenience. Dentures restore your ability to speak clearly.
Restore your smile with dentures. Call our Lansing, MI, dentist, Dr. Scott-Hetchler, at (517) 487-6333 to schedule an appointment.
Everyone knows that in the game of football, quarterbacks are looked up to as team leaders. That's why we're so pleased to see some NFL QB's setting great examples of… wait for it… excellent oral hygiene.
First, at the 2016 season opener against the Broncos, Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers was spotted on the bench; in his hands was a strand of dental floss. In between plays, the 2105 MVP was observed giving his hard-to-reach tooth surfaces a good cleaning with the floss.
Later, Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor was seen on the sideline of a game against the 49ers — with a bottle of mouthwash. Taylor took a swig, swished it around his mouth for a minute, and spit it out. Was he trying to make his breath fresher in the huddle when he called out plays?
Maybe… but in fact, a good mouthrinse can be much more than a short-lived breath freshener.
Cosmetic rinses can leave your breath with a minty taste or pleasant smell — but the sensation is only temporary. And while there's nothing wrong with having good-smelling breath, using a cosmetic mouthwash doesn't improve your oral hygiene — in fact, it can actually mask odors that may indicate a problem, such as tooth decay or gum disease.
Using a therapeutic mouthrinse, however, can actually enhance your oral health. Many commonly available therapeutic rinses contain anti-cariogenic (cavity-fighting) ingredients, such as fluoride; these can help prevent tooth decay and cavity formation by strengthening tooth enamel. Others contain antibacterial ingredients; these can help control the harmful oral bacteria found in plaque — the sticky film that can build up on your teeth in between cleanings. Some antibacterial mouthrinses are available over-the-counter, while others are prescription-only. When used along with brushing and flossing, they can reduce gum disease (gingivitis) and promote good oral health.
So why did Taylor rinse? His coach Rex Ryan later explained that he was cleaning out his mouth after a hard hit, which may have caused some bleeding. Ryan also noted, “He [Taylor] does have the best smelling breath in the league for any quarterback.” The coach didn't explain how he knows that — but never mind. The takeaway is that a cosmetic rinse may be OK for a quick fix — but when it comes to good oral hygiene, using a therapeutic mouthrinse as a part of your daily routine (along with flossing and brushing) can really step up your game.