Dental Visits for the Aging Americans

Plaque retention in the aging population is exacerbated by the presence of dental restorations (e.g., crowns, bridges), missing teeth, and gingival recession. The aging population often face difficulty in mechanical removal of plaque because of reduced manual dexterity, impaired vision, or physical limitations associated with conditions such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, or arthritis.

The basis of prevention is related to detecting disease at the earliest possible state, which requires regular dental visits.

Here are some tips for the aging population when visiting the dentist.

  • Bring a family member or a friend along. This will help ensure no information is missed, and now there is someone to discuss possible treatment options with after the appointment.
  • Before the appointment, write down any questions so nothing is forgot.
  • If something is unclear, ask the dental professional to repeat or rephrase.
  • Ask if you can record the conversation on a device, so you can listen to the discussion again later.

If you are the family member or friend joining the dental appointment here are some ways you can assist.

  • They may need assistance with their daily oral care. If you notice there is poor oral health, it may be a sign they need help from a caregiver.
  • Encourage daily oral home care. Setting reminders is important. Brush twice a day and clean between the teeth once a day.
  • Keep removable dentures and partials clean. Clean daily and remove at night.
  • Schedule regular dental professional visits. This is a great preventive approach for excellent oral health. Continually check for any sores or wounds in the oral cavity that do not heal within two weeks.
  • Medications and medical conditions often have side effects. Tell the dental professional, as they may be able to offer strategies to help relieve oral concerns.
  • Encourage a healthy diet that is low in sugar to help prevent tooth decay.

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