Category: Interdental Brushing

Elderly Oral Health Precautions & Treatments

Elderly Oral Health Precautions & Treatments

As we age we see the importance of having a healthy body. Many seem to overlook or don’t realise the importance that oral health plays in overall health. The elderly population has some particular oral health outcomes that can easily be prevented with routine care, regular check ups and preventative maintenance procedures. In this article we will discuss dexterity limitations, the importance of preventative procedures and how replacing and restoring existing teeth can not only improve your smile but your overall health as well.

Some factors that contribute to the aging population decreasing oral health situation are; gum disease, untreated tooth decay, tooth loss, oral cancer and chronic disease.

Gum disease

Gum disease is the breakdown or infection of the supportive structures around the teeth like gum tissue and bone. It is mainly caused by calculus build up and bacteria that breakdown the supportive structures. Over time plaque hardens and gets below the gum line, without a professional cleaning (which is recommended at least 2-3 times per year for healthy adults) the plaque and bacteria invades and attacks the surrounding structures and breaks them down. Left unchecked this will eventually destroy the structures so much that people will experience tooth mobility and loss. By having regularly scheduled cleanings your dental hygienist can stay up on any changes in the tissue or bone health as well as removing the toxins that contribute to gum disease.

Tooth loss

Tooth loss really has a domino effect in the mouth. Many people opt to extract that problem tooth. What they don’t realize is by extracting vs restoring the tooth, they then have set that area up for more problems. A short while after an extraction the surrounding teeth slowly tip towards the new opening in the arch and the tooth above it will hyperextend and grow into this space as well. This now puts all of these noted teeth in jeopardy. The best course of action is to make sure you restore the existing tooth and / or replace the space that has been created by the extraction with an implant, bridge or partial denture. This ensures the surrounding teeth stay nice and healthy and the function of the bite is restored so healthy foods can be eaten and nutrition stays up, which of course is so important for the elderly population.

Untreated decay

Untreated decay can wreak havoc on a person’s health really pretty quickly.

“Most think of going to the dentist as an emergency situation instead of a preventative one.”

Think of your health like your car. In order for it to run well and get you to where you need to be you have to perform scheduled maintenance, keep it filled up and make sure you are taking care of the engine with proper oil changes etc. Well, the same goes for your body, prevention is your best friend, catching a problem early saves you a ton of headache, pain and money! By making sure you get in for your routine oral health visits, addressing decay issues when they are small and making sure to brush and floss daily you are way ahead of the curve! By using these simple, inexpensive and consistent actions you really save yourself a lot of headaches. Daily oral care can be difficult for the elderly population due to issues with dexterity and not being able to floss and brush properly. Thankfully there’s a tons of aids out there to help with this! Water flossers and power brushes when used correctly are able to reach areas in the mouth traditional brushes never could. Your dental care professional is happy to sit down and find aids that can help you keep your mouth in tip top shape!

Chronic disease

Lastly, is coming to the realization that your mouth is a part of your body! I know, it’s true! Joking aside, it’s amazing how many people think of it as a separate entity though. The mouth is the gateway to the body, so by ensuring it is healthy we can really gauge the health of the rest of the body. Chronic disease and oral cancer are some things that will affect the tissues in the mouth. Dentists are trained to check all tissues and surrounding structures when you come in for your exam. Most perform an oral cancer assessment to determine your risk factor for developing diseases, cancers and precursors that are noted. Many vitamin deficiencies can also show themselves in the mouth which can help your dental professional determine if there should be a change in nutrition or vitamin supplementation to help with a patients health needs. Mainly smoking and drinking alcohol regularly will increase your oral health risk and decrease your overall health, so cutting back or stopping all together can have positive impacts both in your mouth and body as a whole!

The main thing we can take away from all this is that prevention is possible and will help set your body on course to thrive. We already exercise, eat right, rest well in order to stay healthy…. Let’s add regularly scheduled oral health maintenance to the list. If you take care of your teeth, your teeth will definitely take care of you! Make sure to contact the surgery to schedule your routine visit today!

September 3, 2021

Proactive Steps Keep Your Smile Gleaming

Proactive Steps Keep Your Smile Gleaming

Dental hygiene is one of those things… Everyone would love straight, bright, healthy teeth and fresh breath, but after a long day; it’s the last thing anyone really wants to do. With all that is happening in our lives today, brushing and flossing are the last thing usually on people’s minds. We will review simple and easy steps that will help your smile to gleam for years to come.

When to brush and how much?

Have you ever tried to brush for the recommended two minutes? I mean just try it’s like an eternity! If you ever time yourself for the recommended two minutes of brush time, about the time of a song on the radio you may see how quickly you too may be getting through it. It is no surprise that the average brush time for adults lasts only lasts about 30 seconds. Many of the power brushes on the market are helpful because they have built in timers going off every 30 seconds as you work your way around the mouth and timing you for the full two minutes. If the manual brush is more your style you can play a song on the radio or just by splitting up the mouth into 4 areas and spending diligent time in each one will increase your overall brush time.

What about brushing technique?

Now that length has been reviewed let’s discuss technique.  Yes, I know, there actually is a technique and it is an important thing to note too. If technique is incorrect it can damage the tooth or gum tissue.  When selecting a toothbrush you always would like to select the softest bristle to use. Never hard or even medium bristle brushes, they are too harsh for your sensitive tissues and enamel. Soft is best for the general population, but if you have any gum recession, where the gum is pushed up you will want to select and extra soft bristle to stop damage from happening further. Next, is technique, place the bristle at a 45-degree angle into the gum tissue. While brushing your teeth use small circular motions working the way through all the tooth surfaces of the mouth. You should never see the bristles on your toothbrush splay out like a V that means you’re brushing too hard. These simple brushing techniques can extend the life of your teeth and prevent any gum issues or decay from happening.

The importance of flossing and interdental brushing

Many think that brushing is enough, however brushing only hits the front and back of the teeth. The areas of the teeth in between still need to be cleaned. Flossing helps to dislodge any particles in between the teeth. Also, if flossing correctly, by gently gliding the floss under each gum contact in between the teeth, you are helping to stimulate and regenerate the health of the gum tissue and keeping it nice and strong. Think of flossing as the work out for your gums, by stimulating those tiny fibers under the gum with floss you are helping to strengthen them.

Starting correct habits is an easy way to improve your smile without really doing that much more. If you feel that regular brushing and flossing isn’t helping enough, request an appointment with our Dental Hygienist. You’ll be given excellent tuition on general oral hygiene and have any build up and stains removed with our Interdental Brushing – you’ll leave the surgery feeling great!

Dentists understand the need people have to make their smile a pleasant one. A nice healthy smile is your first impression you meet the world with. Make sure you are welcoming those with your best one!

June 12, 2020