Maintaining proper nutrition is important for everyone, young or old but many older adults find it difficult to eat a balanced diet.
They may avoid meats, raw vegetables and fresh fruits because they have trouble chewing or swallowing.
These problems can be caused by painful teeth, ill-fitting dentures, dry mouth or changes in facial muscles.
Others find their sense of taste has changed, sometimes due to a disease or certain medications.
As a result, older adults often have diets lacking in calcium, protein and other nutrients essential to dental and overall health.
A balanced diet has to be based on the five food groups:
– Milk and dairy products
– Breads and cereals
– Meats and dried beans
Sometimes a multi-vitamin or mineral supplement will help but it’s best to use supplements only after discussion with your physician.
If your teeth are stopping you from eating the food you enjoy – or that you need for good health – your dentist will be able to help you find a solution.
Orthodontic treatment is the process of straightening out crooked and crowded teeth, often using appliances such as braces.
Most dentists are trained to treat some minor orthodontic problems but, if they feel a patient needs specialist treatment, they will provide a referral to an orthodontist.
An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.
One of the main aims of orthodontics is to straighten teeth and correct jaw alignment through braces, corrective procedures and other “appliances”.
Braces are the most common appliance and there are two types:
– Fixed, which are worn all the time and can only be removed by the dentist
– Removable, which the patient can take out of the mouth
Most patients wear braces for between one and three years, depending on what conditions need correcting. This is followed by a period of wearing a “retainer” that holds teeth in their new positions.
There may be a little discomfort during treatment but modern braces are more comfortable than ever before. They apply a constant, gentle force to move teeth and usually require fewer adjustments than older apparatus.
While braces work best when children are still growing, they can be effective at any age.
While the general effects of smoking on your health are well-known, it can also have significant effects on your oral health.
Here are some of the ways smoking can harm your oral health and hygiene:
– Oral Cancer
– Periodontal (gum) disease
– Delayed healing after a tooth extraction or other oral surgery
– Bad breath
– Stained teeth and tongue
– Diminished sense of taste and smell
Research suggests that smoking may be responsible for almost 75% of adult gum disease.
Tobacco products damage your gum tissue by affecting the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth. One effect is receding gums which expose the tooth roots and increase your risk of tooth decay or to sensitivity to hot and cold in these unprotected areas.
Cigar smoking is equally a major risk and even smokeless tobacco products contain a variety of toxins associated with cancer. Smokeless tobacco can also irritate your gum tissue.
Giving up smoking will provide a significant boost to your oral health as well as giving you the chance to live longer.
Space maintainers can be crucial to the dental health of a child.
When a child loses a baby tooth early through decay or injury, the other teeth can shift and begin to fill the vacant space.
If this happens, the problem is that, when the permanent teeth emerge, there’s not enough room for them.
This can lead to crooked or crowded teeth and difficulties with chewing or speaking.
To prevent that, the dentist can insert a space maintainer.
This holds the space left by the lost tooth until the permanent tooth emerges.
Space maintainers might be a band or a temporary crown attached to one side of the space.
When the permanent tooth emerges, the dentist removes the device and protects the child’s future smile.
Some people get a bit nervous about the idea of going to the dentist.
As a result of the major progress that has been made in diagnosis and treatment, the process gets more comfortable all the time. So you may be worrying unnecessarily.
But, if you’re in any way tense or anxious, tell your dentist and the dental staff.
They will understand and will be able to adapt the treatment to your needs.
It can also help if you choose a time for your dental visit when you’re less likely to be rushed or under pressure. Dashing out from a busy day at work may make you feel more stressed.
For many people, that means making an early-morning or a Saturday appointment helps a great deal.
There are also other steps than can help. If the sound of the drill bothers you, take a portable audio player and headset so you can listen to your favorite music.
You can also help to relax by simply visualizing yourself somewhere you feel relaxed.
Sometimes these simple steps can help you feel a lot better. So why not give it a try on your next visit?
Your oral health is an important part of your overall health and this is never more true than during pregnancy.
Good oral health habits not only help prevent oral problems during pregnancy, they also help the health of your unborn child.
What you eat during your pregnancy affects the development of your unborn child – including teeth.
Eating a balanced diet is necessary to provide the correct amounts of nutrients to nourish both you and your child.
Your baby’s teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth month of pregnancy, so it is important that you receive sufficient nutrients – especially calcium, protein, phosphorous, and vitamins A, C, and D.
There is a common myth that calcium is lost from the mother’s teeth during pregnancy.
In fact, the calcium your baby needs is provided by your diet, not by your teeth. If your diet does not provide enough calcium, your body will provide this mineral from stores in your bones.
If you have an adequate intake of dairy products – the main source of calcium – or take any supplements your obstetrician recommends – this will help you get the calcium you need.
To help prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease, brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque. Be sure to clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners.
Make regular visits to your dentist during your pregnancy to ensure the best possible health for you and your baby.
You’ll give yourself the best chance of good oral health if you build a strong relationship with your dentist.
That can sometimes mean asking the right questions and helping them to assist you in the best way possible.
So you want to make sure you have a dentist who will first of all explain techniques that you should use to help prevent dental health problems. They should be willing to show you step-by-step what you need to do.
You should also choose a dentist who is willing to take time to answer your questions, especially when they are recommending a course of treatment.
If you don’t understand any part of what your dentist recommends, don’t be afraid to ask for more information.
You may want to ask if there are other options to the solution they recommend. For example:
– How do the options differ in cost?
– Which solution will last the longest?
– Do all the options solve the problem?
Ask the dentist which treatments are absolutely necessary, which are elective and Which are cosmetic.
Ask which procedures are urgently needed, and which ones are less urgent. Your dentist will help you prioritize between problems which need immediate attention and those that are less urgent.
Often, treatment can be planned over a period of time but make sure you understand any consequences of delaying treatment.
It’s naturally also important to make sure that you are given full information about fees and payment plans before treatment is scheduled.
People at any age can have a condition that makes it difficult for them to look after their own dental health.
This could affect people who suffer from a wide range of conditons such as stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, mental retardation, Down syndrome, genetic disorders, Alzheimer’s disease or arthritis.
However, people in all of these categories have the same dental needs as everyone else – they need daily brushing and flossing, regular dental visits and a balanced diet.
There are some steps caregivers can take to make it easier to look after people in those categories.
If the person is uncooperative or uncontrollable, try to explain what you are about to do and schedule the task for a time of day when they are rested.
Move in a calm, slow, reassuring manner to avoid startling them. Give praise and encourage them when they help themselves.
Support the person’s head, and take special care to prevent choking or gagging when the head is tilted back.
If the person is unable or unwilling to keep their mouth open, your dentist will explain how you can make and use a mouth prop.
Ask your dentist for advice on how to care for people with special needs and check if they have facilities for caring for these needs in the dental office.
Removable partial dentures usually involve replacement teeth attached to plastic bases, connected by metal framework.
They attach to your natural teeth with metal clasps or precision attachments’. Precision attachments generally look better than metal clasps and are nearly invisible.
Crowns may be required on your natural teeth to improve the fit of a removable partial denture.
When you first get a partial denture, it may feel awkward or bulky. But you will gradually get used to wearing it.
It will also take a bit of practice to get used to inserting and removing the denture. It should fit into place easily and you should never force it.
Your dentist may suggest that you wear your partial denture all the time at first. While it will be uncomfortable for a while, it will help you identify if any parts of the denture need adjustment.
After making adjustments, your dentist will probably recommend that you take the denture out of your mouth before going to bed and replace it in the morning.
With a denture, eating should become a more pleasant experience compared to having missing teeth.
But, initially, you’ll need to eat soft foods cut into small pieces. And avoid foods that are extremely sticky or hard.
Some people with missing teeth find it hard to speak clearly so wearing a partial denture may help. However, you’ll probably need to practice certain words at first to get completely comfortable.
While it can take a little geting used to initially, a partial denture can help you enjoy your food with less worries.
Although canker sores are often confused with cold sores, there is a difference.
Canker sores occur inside the mouth, and cold sores usually occur outside the mouth.
Canker sores are small ulcers with a white or gray base and a red border. There can be one or more sores in the mouth. They are very common and often recur.
They usually heal in a week or two and rinsing with antimicrobial mouthrinses may help reduce the irritation.
Cold sores – also called fever blisters – are composed of groups of painful, fluid-filled blisters that often erupt around the lips and sometimes under the nose or chin.
Cold sores are usually caused by herpes virus type I and are very contagious. They usually heal in about a week.
Over-the-counter topical anesthetics can provide temporary relief and prescription antiviral drugs may reduce these kinds of viral infections.