During the current lockdown restrictions, many dentists are only seeing patients for emergency appointments, so we’ve got some top advice for the elderly and vulnerable on taking care of their teeth.
If you’re elderly or vulnerable or are looking after someone who is, we hope this advice is helpful for you.
Certain conditions can develop as we age that can affect teeth and all those years of chewing food and grinding teeth can take its toll. General wear and tear can occur. Gums can also recede, leading to an increased risk of decay.
Keep up your usual brushing twice per day in the morning and evening. Studies have shown many people on brush for 43 seconds, but it should be done for two minutes to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
If you have an electric toothbrush, they often have timers built in, which is really helpful.
You could also start using an antibacterial mouthwash to help reduce the build-up of plaque.
Use fluoride toothpaste
There are many toothpastes on the market now and the numbers of ‘natural’ toothpastes have risen recently. According to the Oral Health Foundation you need to be using a flouride toothpaste as this is the best way to slow down the progression of any existing decay.
Replace your electric toothbrush head or manual toothbrush every three months.
Make flossing a habit
If you don’t already, it’s a good idea to start flossing. You can pick up dental floss in most supermarkets, or use interdental brushes, which are easier to use and important if you have a history of gum disease.
Be mindful of what you eat and drink
To keep any problems and the need for a dentist appointment, be mindful of what you are eating and drinking. During the lockdown you might be eating more out of boredom so it’s important to steer clear of snacks, sugary sweets and drinks.
People with dementia can often overlook oral hygiene. They might simply forget to brush their teeth or forget why it is important to take care of their teeth and mouth. You can read our advice on teeth brushing for people with dementia here.