Decay around the edges, or margins, of fillings are also common in older adults. Because many older adults lacked benefits of fluoride and modern preventive dental care when they were growing up, they often have a number of dental fillings. Over the years, these fillings weaken and tend to fracture and leak around the edges. Bacteria accumulate in these tiny crevices causing acid to build up, which leads to decay.
Why am I losing my sense of taste?
You may find that you are losing your appetite due to a change in your sense of taste. Several factors can cause this change. Besides an age-related decrease in the sense of taste and smell, certain diseases, medications, and dentures can contribute to a decrease in your sense of taste.
How can I fill the gap?
A bridge — a device used to replace missing teeth — attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth. Bridges can be applied either permanently (fixed bridges), or they can be removable.
Fixed bridges are applied by either placing crowns on the abutment teeth — to provide support for artificial teeth — or by bonding the artificial teeth directly to the abutment teeth. Removable bridges are attached to the teeth by either metal clasps or by precision attachments.
What about dentures?
When most or all of your teeth have been lost, dentures can restore your eating and speaking ability, as well as improve your appearance. Today’s dentures are much more effective and cosmetically appealing than they were in the past. A fitting for dentures can take place immediately after your natural teeth are removed or after the extraction sites have healed. Full dentures replace all of the natural teeth, and partial dentures replace only some of the natural teeth.
Are there other options?
An increasingly successful option to dentures and bridges is dental implants. Instead of attaching artificial teeth to existing teeth, as bridges do, implants attach directly to the jaw bone or under the gum tissues. Because implants attach so securely, they look and feel natural, and offer better chewing ability. Candidates for implants must be in good health and have enough bone with which to secure the implant.
Preventing Dental Problems
Every time you eat food containing sugars and starches, the bacteria in plaque produce acids which attack your tooth enamel for 20 minutes or more. After repeated acid attacks, the tooth enamel begins to break down and a cavity forms. By limiting the number of times you snack and by choosing nutritious foods from the five main food groups (vegetables; fruits; dairy; breads/cereals/grains; meat/poultry/fish), you can help save your teeth from decay. A balanced diet, plus brushing and cleaning between your teeth, can keep your mouth healthier.
Choosing Oral Care Products
Even savvy shoppers can be baffled by the seemingly endless variety of dental care products. Choose products recommended by Balaji Dental Centre – Toothpaste, manual and electric toothbrushes, floss and other inter-dental cleaning aids, mouth-rinses and oral irrigators.
Thorough brushing twice-a-day, and cleaning between the teeth daily with floss or other inter-dental cleaners, remove plaque. Keep these tips in mind when brushing your teeth. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Place the brush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and use a gentle tooth-wide, back-and-forth motion. Remember to clean the inside teeth surfaces where plaque deposits are heavy, and clean the back teeth and tongue. Replace your brush when the bristles become frayed or worn — about every three to four months.
Cleaning between teeth
Floss and other inter-dental cleaners remove plaque from between the teeth and under the gum-line, areas where the toothbrush can’t reach. If you haven’t been in the habit, it’s never too late to start.
When flossing, keep in mind these tips. Gently ease the floss between the teeth and gum-line, never snap it. Form a “c” against the sides of both teeth and gently rub the floss up and down the tooth, moving it from under the gum-line to the top of the tooth. Establish a regular pattern of flossing and remember to floss the backside of the last teeth. It’s especially important for bridge-wearers to floss around the abutment teeth. These teeth must remain healthy if the bridge is to function properly.
Denture care and maintenance
Cleaning your dentures daily helps remove stains and plaque that build up and irritate your gums. First, rinse your dentures. Then, use a soft-bristled denture brush and a denture-cleaning agent. Brush the dentures thoroughly, but avoid damaging the plastic parts or metal clasps.
Only your dentist is qualified to diagnose your oral health condition and fit and adjust your dentures. Do-it-yourself kits and use of dental adhesives, without a dentist’s advice, can result in increased irritation, bone loss, and even infections. Although your dentures were made to fit precisely, they can become loose due to naturally occurring changes in your gums and bones. Your dentist should periodically check your dentures for proper fit.
The Importance of Dental Visits
Regular dental visits are important, regardless of whether or not you have your natural teeth. Checking the condition of your teeth is just one of the many functions performed your dentist.
Why isn’t brushing enough?
Although daily brushing and flossing help remove plaque and early tartar formation, once tartar has hardened, it can only be removed by a dental professional. Some people form tartar faster than others and may need to have their teeth cleaned more often.
Things to Remember…
Although our mouth goes through many changes as we age, the power to avoid dental decay and gum disease is within our grasp.
Contrary to popular belief, cavities are a common problem among older adults. Tooth loss isn’t inevitable, but if you do lose some or all of your teeth, a number of options can be used to replace them.
Be sure to tell us at BDC about any illnesses you have or any medications that you are taking — including those you purchase over the counter.
Getting a Grip on Your Toothbrush and Floss
If you have dexterity problems or a physical disability, you may find it difficult to hold onto your toothbrush or dental floss. This can be solved by using a few simple “home remedies” or devices listed below.
- Use a wide elastic band to attach the brush to your hand.
- Enlarge the brush handle with a sponge, rubber ball, or bicycle handle grip. Also try winding an elastic bandage or adhesive tape around the handle.
- Lengthen the handle with a piece of wood or plastic such as a ruler, popsicle stick, or tongue depressor.
- Tie floss into a loop for easier handling.
- Use an electric toothbrush or commercial floss holder.
Are there other ways I can improve my smile?
Looking good continues to be important as we grow older, and a number of new cosmetic dental procedures can help you improve your smile. These new techniques are not just for younger people — many are options that can benefit you. Bleaching whitens stained teeth. Bonding is a technique that “paints” tooth-colored materials onto the tooth to cover stains, to rebuild chipped or cracked teeth and to close gaps. Veneers are tooth-colored materials that fit over the teeth much like a false fingernail. Ask us at BDC what procedures would be right for you.