Adults Over 60
With the rapid advancement in field of dentistry and medical research it is now
virtually easy to have a completely healthy set of teeth even in the later stages
Maintaining good oral health habits now is especially important because unhealthy
bacteria in the mouth not only can harm your teeth and gums but may be associated
with serious medical conditions. Research has shown that infections in the mouth
may be associated with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia and other health
problems that are common in older adults.
It really only takes a few simple steps, brushing and flossing daily, visiting your
dentist regularly and eating nutritious foods to have Happy smile Healthy smile
Even for those elderly patients who are bedridden,they should discuss their oral
hygiene care with their dentist,who can make appropriate arrangements for the patient
for a home visit.
What you eat is who you are,and your teeth help you eat.Your teeth are as important
as any other vital organ in your body.
The time to start taking care of your teeth is now .See your Dentist. Get a happy
and healthy smile.
Brush and Floss Daily
Brushing and flossing your teeth is just as important for you as it is for your
grandchildren. Even though it may have been years since you've had a cavity, your
risk of cavities increases with age. One of the reasons is dry mouth—a common side
effect of many prescription medications.
Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Choose a toothbrush with
soft bristles and a small head to get to those hard to reach areas. Replace your
toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles becomes frayed.
If you have arthritis or other condition that limits movement, try an electric toothbrush.
Clean between teeth daily with floss. If floss is too difficult to work with, try
a floss pick or tiny brushes made specifically to clean between teeth.
Clean Dentures Daily
Bacteria stick to your teeth and also to full or partial dentures. If you wear dentures,
remember to clean them on a daily basis with cleaners made specifically for dentures.
Do not use toothpastes for natural teeth or household cleaners, which are too abrasive
and can damage dentures that can be expensive to replace.
Take your dentures out of your mouth for at least four hours every 24 hours to keep
the lining of your mouth healthy. It’s best to remove your full or partial dentures
at night. Your dentist will provide you with instructions about how long your dentures
should be worn each day.
Visit a Dentist Regularly
The IDA recommends that you get regular dental checkups at least once a year . Please
do not wait until you have pain. As you age, the nerves inside your teeth become
smaller and less sensitive. By the time you feel pain from a cavity, it may be too
late and you may lose your tooth. There are also more serious conditions that your
dentist will look for, like oral cancer and gum disease, which do not always cause
pain until the advanced stages of the disease. By then, it’s more difficult and
costly to treat.
When you go to your dentist for a check-up bring the following information:
- List of medications you are currently taking including vitamins, herbal remedies,
and over- the-counter medications
- List of medical conditions and allergies
- Information and phone numbers of all health care providers, doctors, and your previous
- Information about your emergency contacts, someone who can help make decisions on
your behalf in the case of a medical emergency
- Dental insurance or Medicaid cards
- Your dentures or partials, even if you don’t wear them
Be sure to talk with your dentist about how to properly secure and dispose of any
unused, unwanted or expired medications, especially if there are any children in
Concern for Adults Over 60
Prevention of mouth dryness
Aging,certain medical conditions,and medications may cause dry mouth.
Your dentist can make recommendations to help relieve your dry mouth symptoms and
Here are some common recommendations:
Use over-the-counter oral moisturizers, such as a spray or mouthwash.
Consult with your physician on whether to change the medication or dosage.
Drink more water. Carry a water bottle with you, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty
to drink. Your mouth needs constant lubrication.
Use sugar-free gum or lozenges to stimulate saliva production.
Get a humidifier to help keep moisture in the air.
Avoid foods and beverages that irritate dry mouths, like coffee, alcohol, carbonated
soft drinks, and acidic fruit juices.
Your dentist may apply a fluoride gel or varnish to protect your teeth from cavities.
The IDA recommends that you see your dentist for a happy and healthy smile.
A lot of geriatric patients are already on a lot of prescription drugs due to various
health issues .Before a dental procedure taking an additional antibiotic may hence
seem cumbersome and avoidable to them.Also reaction of antibiotics with other medications
could be a reason for concern for the elderly.
What is important to note is that an antibiotic is very necessary before certain
dental procedures especially when there are certain conditions like diabetes,heart
ailments,bone problems etc. You may think it’s not relevant. After all, what do
your heart and joints have to do with your teeth? But, there are conditions with
a high risk of infection and an antibiotic is recommended prior to some dental procedures.
The IDA recommends you to please update your dentist with all your medical conditions
along with the prescribed drugs to save yourself further complications.
Osteoporosis and jaw bone
In the case of antiresorptive agents—medicines that help strengthen bones—these
medications have been associated with a rare but serious condition called osteonecrosis
that can cause severe damage to the jawbone.
Some antiresorptive agents, such as Fosamax, Actonel, Atelvia, Didronel and Boniva,
are taken orally to help prevent or treat osteoporosis (thinning of bone) and Paget's
disease of the bone, a disorder that involves abnormal bone destruction and regrowth,
which can result in deformity. Others antiresorptive agents, such as Boniva IV,
Reclast or Prolia, are administered by injection. Higher and more frequent dosing
of these agents is given as part of cancer therapy to reduce bone pain and hypercalcemia
of malignancy (abnormally high calcium levels in the blood) associated with metastatic
breast cancer, prostate cancer and multiple myeloma.
While osteonecrosis of the jaw can occur spontaneously, it more commonly occurs
after dental procedures that affect the bone or associated tissues (for example,
pulling a tooth).
The IDA recommends that you should tell your dentist if you are taking antiresorptive
agents so he or she can take that into account when developing your treatment plan.
Eat a diet rich in calcium, even if you are taking medication, and ask your doctor
whether or not you should take calcium and vitamin D supplements.
Many older adults have gum, or periodontal disease, caused by the bacteria in plaque,
which irritate the gums, making them swollen, red and more likely to bleed. One
reason gum disease is so widespread among adults is that it’s often a painless condition
until the advanced stage. If left untreated, gums pull away from the teeth and form
deepened spaces called pockets where food particles and more plaque may collect.
Advanced gum disease can eventually destroy the gums, bone and ligaments supporting
the teeth leading to tooth loss.
The good news is that with regular dental visits gum disease can be treated or prevented
Advanced gum disease is called periodontitis. Chronic periodontitis can lead to
the loss of tissue and bone that support the teeth and it may become more severe
over time. If it does, your teeth will feel loose and start moving around in your
mouth. This is the most common form of periodontitis in adults but can occur at
any age. It usually gets worse slowly, but there can be periods of rapid progression.
Research between systemic diseases and periodontal diseases is ongoing. While a
link is not conclusive, some studies indicate that severe gum disease may be associated
with several other health conditions such as diabetes or stroke.
The IDA recommends that you visit your dentist every six months for a routine checkup
and cleaning .Brush your teeth twice a day.Use interdental brush to clean the proximal
areas of teeth if gaps are wide or floss your teeth.Use a mouthwash.
Your dentist can help you get a happy and healthy smile.
There are about 35,000 cases of mouth, throat and tongue cancer diagnosed each year.
The average age of most people diagnosed with these cancers is 62. During dental
visits, your dentist will check for any signs of oral cancer.
The IDA recommends that regular dental visits are important because in the early
stages oral cancer typically does not cause pain and early detection saves lives.
Some symptoms you may see include open sores, white or reddish patches, and changes
in the lips, tongue and lining of the mouth that lasts for more than two weeks.
If you have habits like smoking,tobacco chewing,etc which increase the chances of
getting oral cancer,its time to give up those habits.
If you have a denture or sharp tooth edge constantly hurting your tongue,lips or
cheeks,have it attended to by your dentist .Chronic injury can predispose to oral
Do not take your health for granted.
Consult your dentist for a happy and healthy smile.
Pacemakers are also used to treat the following:
Pacemakers are used most commonly to treat bradyarrythmias, which are slow heart
rhythms that may arise from disease in the heart's electrical conduction system
(such as the SA node, AV node, or HIS- Purkinje system).
Heart failure. This device is called cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) or
Syncope (fainting spells).
Chest x-ray showing a pacemaker
Implantable cardiac devices, such as pacemakers or implantable defibrillators, use
electrical impulses to help the heart maintain its proper rhythm.
Some of the ultrasonic tools your dentist uses, such as certain ultrasonic scalers
or instrument cleaning systems, have the potential to interfere with these cardiac
devices and could result in an irregular heartbeat.
The IDA recommends that it is important that you keep your dentist up to date about
your general health, including medicines or treatments you are receiving. In this
case, he or she may want to avoid using certain ultrasonic devices as part of your
Having a pace maker or defibrillator is no reason one must avoid dental treatment.Just
modifying your treatment to suit your specific needs is all that is needed.In fact
now,more than ever you must take care of oral hygiene,as several studies have linked
poor oral hygiene with risks of getting strokes.
Sjögren’s (pronounced SHOW-grins) syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disorder in which
the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own moisture- producing glands,
the tear- secreting and salivary glands as well as other organs.
- Dry eyes and dry mouth
- Dysfunction of other organs such as the kidneys, gastrointestinal system, blood
vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and the central nervous system
- Extreme fatigue and joint pain.
Nine out of 10 patients diagnosed with the disorder are women.The cause of Sjögren’s
syndrome is unknown. It is one of the most common autoimmune disorders. Due to the
decreased flow of saliva, Sjögren’s can pose a serious threat to your oral health.
The IDA recommends that if you suffer from dry mouth, it is important to be proactive
and discuss your treatment options with your dentist or physician.
Thrush (also called Candidiasis or moniliasis) is a fungal infection that occurs
when the yeast Candida albicans reproduce in large numbers. It is common among denture
wearers. Most often it occurs in people with weak immune systems—the very young,
elderly or those debilitated by disease, such as diabetes or leukemia. In addition,
people with dry mouth syndrome are susceptible to candidiasis. Candida may also
flourish after antibiotic treatment, which can decrease normal bacteria in the mouth.
Controlling candidiasis means focusing on preventing or controlling the condition
that causes the outbreak.
Good oral hygiene is essential.
The IDA recommends that you remove your dentures and clean them at bedtime. Rinsing
your mouth with a mouthwash is healthy habit.
See your dentist for further information and gift yourself a happy and healthy smile.
Caretakers for elderly
You may have a parent, spouse or friend who has difficulty maintaining a healthy
mouth on their own. How can you help? Two things are critical:
Help them keep their mouth clean with reminders to brush and floss daily.
Make sure they get to a dentist regularly.
If they are bedridden,discuss their condition with the dentist and arrange for appropriate
treatment at home or in a hospital.
These steps can prevent many problems, but tasks that once seemed so simple can
become very challenging. If your loved one is having difficulty with brushing and
flossing, talk to a dentist or hygienist who can provide helpful tips or a different
approach. There are dentists who specialize in caring for the elderly and disabled.
For those who wear dentures, pay close attention to their eating habits. If they’re
having difficulty eating or are not eating as much as usual, denture problems could
be the cause.
When you’re caring for someone who is confined to bed, they may have so many health
problems that it’s easy to forget about oral health. However, it’s still very important
because bacteria from the mouth can be inhaled into the lungs and cause pneumonia.
The IDA recommends that you pay special attention to their oral hygiene.
Halitosis / Bad breadth
What causes bad breath?
Food. What you eat affects the air you exhale, like garlic or onions. If you don't
brush and floss daily, particles of food can remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria,
which can cause bad breath. Dieters may develop unpleasant breath from infrequent
Gum disease. Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth can also be one of
the warning signs of gum disease; which is caused by plaque.
Dry mouth. This occurs when the flow of saliva decreases and can be caused by various
medications, salivary gland problems or continuously breathing through the mouth.
Without enough saliva, food particles are not cleaned away. If you suffer from dry
mouth, your dentist may prescribe an artificial saliva, or suggest using sugarless
candy or increase your fluid intake.
Smoking and tobacco. In addition to staining teeth and being bad for overall health,
tobacco can add to bad breath. Tobacco reduces your ability to taste foods and irritates
gum tissues. Tobacco users are more likely to suffer from gum disease and are at
greater risk for developing oral cancer. If you use tobacco, ask your dentist for
tips on kicking the habit.
Medical conditions. Some diseases have symptoms related to bad breath. Sinus or
lung infections, bronchitis, diabetes, and some liver or kidney diseases may be
associated with bad breath.
Maintaining good oral hygiene, eliminating gum disease and scheduling regular professional
cleanings are essential to reducing bad breath.
The IDA recommends that you brush twice a day and clean between your teeth daily
with floss. Brush your tongue, too. If you wear dentures, be sure to remove them
at night and clean them thoroughly before replacing them the next morning.
It’s important to note that mouthwash will only mask the odor temporarily. Mouthwashes
do not have a long-lasting effect on bad breath. If you must constantly use a breath
freshener to hide unpleasant mouth odor, see your dentist without further delay.