Mid-life is such a time, isn’t it? Adults in the age range of 45- to 65-years old often express fascination with how much wisdom they have gained about themselves and the world. They are enjoying the pride of being grandparents and of career success. The years of midlife and beyond involve quite a bit of transition, too, for both men and women. One of the changes that have been noted by researchers is important to us because it has to do with oral care later in life.
Studies have told us a lot about oral health and the benefits of dentistry. One has suggested that we need to pay extra close attention to how we perform oral care after the age of fifty because, around this age, it seems as though plaque becomes more difficult to remove. As we continue to age, additional challenges arise that could adversely affect the mouth. Here, we want to point out what those may be and what may be done to overcome them.
Dental Challenges for the Older Adult
One of the common ways in which the body changes as we age is that our joints may become stiff and achy. This may be due to arthritis or other conditions and, when stiffness and pain become more severe, we may lose our ability to brush and floss our teeth with ease.
We know that brushing and flossing are paramount to good oral health. For the adult with dexterity issues related to arthritis or any other condition, we may suggest strategies such as using an electric toothbrush and flossing tools. The vibrating head of an electric or sonic toothbrush cleans teeth without requiring much hand movement at all. Flossing tools such as a Water Pik or flossing stick clean hard to reach places without the need to hold a string of floss.
Dexterity is one of several challenges that older adults may face. Additional obstacles to lifelong oral health include proper denture care and dry mouth.