There’s a lot of talk these days about aging in place.  This refers to the wish of aging citizens to remain comfortably in their home longer. Perhaps without ever shifting to a nursing home. What are the best dental strategies to allow your teeth to stay healthy, i.e. to age in place? Is it worth your time? Can you do it?  At Sky Dental, we can help.

Age in Place Dental Strategies Equal Healthy Teeth

According to AARP, the American Association for Retired Persons, 3 out of 4 senior citizens will try to remain in their home.  This includes the growing Baby Boomer population which is either retired or aging into retirement.  The 2018 study shows that 77 percent want to stay in their home.  Good dental care can aid this effort.

Let’s think about bad dental care for a moment. If teeth are allowed to rot inside the mouth, this can lead to a dangerous infection. This can affect a senior’s ability to take care of themselves.  Furthermore, bad teeth can lead to the need for dentures.  Untreated tooth problems can make it hard to eat, preventing a senior from getting nutrients and fiber that are needed for good digestion and good health. .

Preventative care and early intervention are key to avoiding these more expensive  problems. If you are a senior citizen or a caregiver for one, here are some good ways to address dental concerns.  These are good ideas for anyone, but they are especially vital for those who want to age in place.

Step One: Don’t Skip Dental Visits.

It may be tempting to go years without visiting the dentist. If your teeth don’t hurt, you may think that there isn’t any reason to go. However, plenty of problems are lying underneath the surface.

Plaque isn’t just unsightly. It eats away at your teeth. This leads to decay and loss. Fortunately it is relatively easy to go to the dentist and have a cleaning.  In one trip, your teeth are strengthened. 

Gingivitis is also caused by plaque and germs in your mouth.  There is deterioration below the surface. If untreated, gingivitis leads to periodontitis.  This is one of the leading causes of losing your teeth and ending up with dentures.   Seniors should take great care to avoid this problem.

Step Two:  Follow your dentist’s instructions to care for your teeth and gums.

Your dentist can recommend the right toothpaste for your tooth issues.  Sky Dental professionals will also instruct you in how to care for your gums.  A special mouthwash, regular flossing, and a waterpik may be suggested.  This may require an extra trip to the dentist to make sure the treatments are working.

Step Three: Don’t Allow Sensitivity Toothpaste to Mask Symptoms.

Sensitivity toothpaste is a good invention. However, it can reduce pain from cavities and other dental problems that could be solved. If you have a lot of sensitivity, check in regularly with Sky Dental to make sure that it isn’t a bigger problem.

Step Four:  Watch for bumps inside your mouth.

A bump may mean nothing. However, a bump in  your mouth is often a sign that bacteria has built up between your bone and your teeth.  This leads to tooth loss very quickly.  As soon as you notice that bump, head to Sky Dental.  An x-ray will tell us what is going on and what needs to be done.

In some instances, a bump or growth can be cancerous. Your Sky Dental professional can use a special light to watch for these problems. If we find something, we can refer you to an oral surgeon for further care.

Step Five: Avoid Dentures by Replacing Missing Teeth

If you have lost teeth, a dental bridge actually helps stabilize your other teeth.  You don’t want them to move around.  You need your teeth to stay put, keeping a strong connection with your jaw bone.  This helps you avoid the need for dentures, and that’s a good thing.

Another approach is to have a dental implant. These are more affordable when done right away. If you wait to replace a missing tooth, you could have bone loss. Sky Dental can coordinate with your oral surgeon and provide the high-quality crown you need for the finished replacement tooth.

Avoiding dentures is a very worthy goal. Replacing all of your teeth is a hassle, and it can cause your jaw to lose shape.  This makes dentures fit badly in just a few years.

While you consider ways to remain in your home, don’t forget that your teeth need to age in place as well.  Let’s work together to maintain your dental health.  Sky Dental has three offices to serve you.

For more advice about aging in place, you can consult the National Institutes of Health