Oral Health for Older Canadians

Many seniors tend to overlook their oral health. While an ache or pain in our body may bring us to the doctor, we often live with teeth aches or sore mouths.

That is one of the reasons that the Canadian Dental Association has dedicated April as National Oral Health Month. 

The need to raise awareness about keeping our mouths healthy is evident in the statistics:

  • A report by the CDA found that about six per cent of Canadian adults have no teeth
  • 22 per cent of those between 60 and 79 years of age have no natural teeth
  • 20 per cent of Canadians have no dentist
  • About half of those between 60 and 79 years have no dental insurance
  • About 4.15 million days of work are lost each year because of dental issues

Oral health issues can affect our overall health. It can also be a sign of something more serious like oral cancer.

Seniors, in particular, need to practice good oral hygiene to keep their teeth healthy into their later years.

Here are some tips for keeping your mouth as well as it can be.

  • Use a soft-bristle brush with a smaller head and replace it every three months
  • Buy toothpaste with fluoride
  • Floss daily
  • Brush twice a day for at least two minutes
  • Try to avoid foods with high caffeine or sugar content as they tend to damage the mouth the most
  • See a dentist once a year
  • Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Use mouthwash to reduce plaque buildup
  • If you wear dentures clean them daily with the appropriate cleaners
  • Also, remove your dentures for at least four hours every day as it helps keep your mouth healthy

Older Canadians are also at risk for oral conditions that younger individuals do not often have. These include dry mouth, cavities, enamel wear and root decay. Let your dentist know if you suffer from any of these so they can suggest a treatment.

 

Written by Chandra Lye

 

 

 

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