Oral Care

Topic Overview

oral hygiene word cloud

  • More seniors have their own teeth
  • A healthy mouth is important to general health
  • Good daily mouth care can prevent oral diseases.
  • An unhealthy mouth can be painful. Mouth pain can affect your ability to chew, eat, and to speak.
  • An unhealthy mouth can smell bad. You may decrease your time spent with others when you have bad breath.
  • An unhealthy mouth may put you at risk for heart disease and aspiration pneumonia.
  • When your immune system is low, your mouth may develop fungal infections or other infections in the mouth.
What You Should Know
  • Cavities
    • Older adults get cavities around old fillings
    • Older adults get cavities on root surfaces
  • Gum disease
    • Your teeth need to be brushed two times every day.
    • Your gums are not healthy if they bleed.
  • dental care word cloudOral Cancer
    • Older adults have increased chance of getting oral cancer
    • Cancer in your mouth may be on your tongue, lips, throat, inside your cheeks, roof of your mouth or the floor of your mouth.
  • Dry mouth
    • Very common for older adults
    • Many medications make your mouth dry. Over 400 medications may cause dry mouth.
    • Dry mouth increases bacteria growth and it sticks better to the teeth
    • Bacteria is harder to brush off when teeth are dry.
    • Mouth is often dry if you have diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease, or Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • Teeth
    • If you have teeth, they need to be brushed two times per day
    • Use toothpaste with fluoride
    • Use floss if you can. Floss picks can be easier to use.
  • Dentures
    • You should take them out of your mouth and brush them two times per day.
    • Dentures should be taken out of your mouth each day for a few hours.
    • Soak dentures in water when you take them out.
    • Make sure your name is on your dentures.
  • men exercizingMouthwash
    • Use mouthwashes without alcohol
    • Use a mouthwash with fluoride to help make teeth and roots stronger (Recommend CREST ProHealth rinse OR ORAL B fluoride rinse)
    • Biotene mouth rinse may help with your dry mouth http://www.biotene.com/
  • Lip Care
    • To avoid lips from cracking, use lip products such as Labello® or Blistex®
    • Vaseline is not effective and should not be used
  • Dry Mouth
    • Drink or sip as much water as possible
    • Sucking on small ice chips can be soothing
    • Rinse with Canada Dry® Club Soda
    • Use sugar-free candies or gum
    • Recommend using a humidifier in your room
    • Products can be bought at a local pharmacy that help to moisten your mouth. One of these products is called Biotene Oral Balance® http://www.biotene.com/. Use mouth rinse or mouth spray
  • Foods, Drinks, Candies
    • Eating healthy foods will help keep your mouth healthy.
    • If possible, eat as many crunchy foods as you can. Crunchy foods do not stick to the teeth. Soft foods stick to the teeth.
    • Large amounts of fruit juice, ice tea and pop are not good for the teeth.
    • If you have candy, try the sugar-free types. Regular hard candy has lots of sugar.

When to Seek Advice

You should seek advice from a dentist, dental hygienist or denturist

  • If your mouth is bleeding (dentist or dental hygienist)
  • If you have sores in your mouth (dentist or dental hygienist)
  • If you have pain in your mouth (dentist or dental hygienist)
  • If you have any swelling in your mouth (dentist or dental hygienist)
  • If you feel any lumps in your lips, cheeks, or tongue
  • If your dentures are broken (dentist or denturist)
  • If your teeth are loose or broken (dentist)
Last modified: Wednesday, April 27, 2022, 9:28 AM