A Answers (6)
Older people are more susceptible to tooth decay. Flossing on a regular basis is vitally important to help prevent these dental problems.
American Dental Association answered
The important thing seniors need to keep in mind is that 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. That's why brushing and flossing your teeth is still so important even though it may have been years since you’ve had a cavity, your risk of cavities increases with age. So always remember to 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 become frayed. If you have arthritis or other condition that limits movement, try an electric toothbrush. Be sure to 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.
William M. Litaker, Dentistry, answeredThere are several conditions that occur with age that could cause seniors to have dental problems. Many seniors are on medications that can lead to a dry mouth. Persons with a dry mouth are more susceptible to tooth decay. Many seniors also have a lot of dental work, which may be harder to clean than natural teeth. Peridontal disease is also more prevalent as people age. Brushing and flossing help remove the dental plaque that causes tooth decay and periodontal disease. When seniors have conditions that can increase their chances of tooth decay, more frequent brushing and flossing may help reduce these risks.
Thomas Connelly, Dentistry, answered
Well, I don't know about *more* frequently (I'm an advocate of everyone brushing and flossing regularly), but they need to keep up what they've always done. For a few reasons:
- Seniors typically generate less saliva and also experience periodontal bone loss - this creates more pockets for food particles to get trapped, and less saliva to wash it away.
- Seniors also typically have a lot of old dental work - dental work which can catch food particles.
Brush and floss until you can't do it anymore, folks :)
Chad Kasperowski, DMD, Dentistry, answered
Years ago, it was assumed that old age meant full dentures. Today, people are living longer than ever and many still have their teeth in their old age. Consequently, the care of these teeth has become a challenge on many fronts:
- Periodontal bone loss is a fact of life, even in the healthiest of seniors. As a result, there are many more areas in their mouth that can collect food debris and dental plaque that is hard to reach. In addition, the root surfaces of teeth which are more attractive to plaque are commonly exposed in seniors.
- Typical seniors have many dental restorations (fillings/crowns/etc.) that need to be maintained.
- Salivary function typically declines in old age and the tremendous protective effects of saliva in the prevention of tooth decay are reduced. Also known as "dry mouth", this lack of salivary function can also be attributed to the multiple medications (most meds have dry mouth as a side effect) many seniors take.
Many seniors can benefit from increased brushing and flossing, but also from the use of adjunctive oral hygiene aids such as proxabrushes, waterpiks, extra fluoride, and salivary substitutes.
LaMont Gee, Dentistry, answered
Many seniors are usually taking several medications, some of which cause drying of the mouth. This dryness means that the teeth are not getting an adequate flow of saliva to help keep them free of plaque, the stuff that contributes to cavities and gum tissue inflammation. Therefore there is a need for better and more frequent brushing and flossing.