Dental care for older people is much the same as for younger adults.
But older adults do have concerns that younger adults do not. These include
caring for dentures, having trouble holding a toothbrush, having gum disease,
having tooth decay on the roots of teeth, and replacing missing teeth and
Dentures are "false teeth." They can replace all the teeth in your
mouth (complete denture) or only some of them (partial denture). If you need
dentures, your dentist will measure your mouth and take impressions to create
John Gamba was 9 years old when a dentist failed to anesthetize a back molar properly and hit a nerve dead-on. The result was a lifelong fear of dentists that reached a peak in his 20s, when he stopped going to the dentist entirely. "I couldn't even drive by a dentist's office without getting stressed out," he tells WebMD.
Gamba was 38 when a chipped back molar began to decay, eventually causing him constant pain. "I was paralyzed. I couldn't even consider going [to the dentist's office]," says...
You should care for your dentures as you would your teeth. It's
also important to continue to care for your gums. Brush your gums, tongue and
the roof of your mouth (palate) every day with a soft-bristled brush before you
put in your dentures. Continue to see your dentist on a regular basis.
To care for your dentures:
When you take your dentures out, stand over a
folded towel or bowl of water. This way if you drop them, they will not
Store dentures in lukewarm water or denture-cleaning liquid
overnight. Do not put them in hot water, and do not let them dry
Replace your dentures about every 5 years. Using your dentures
daily "wears them out," and you will need to replace them.
your dentures every day. Cleaning helps prevent dentures from becoming stained
and helps your mouth stay healthy.
Rinse your dentures to remove loose food particles.
Wet the brush, and brush your dentures with a denture cleanser
such as Polident or Efferdent. You may be able to use hand soap or mild
dishwashing liquid. Do not use household cleansers, which may be too rough, or
Brush every surface, scrubbing gently to avoid damage. Use
a brush designed for cleaning dentures or a toothbrush with soft bristles. Do
not use hard-bristled brushes, because they can damage the dentures.
To care for your teeth and gums:
Examine your gums daily before you put in your
dentures. Let red, swollen gums heal before you wear your dentures again. If
the redness does not go away in a few days, call your dentist. White patches on
the inside of your cheeks could also indicate poorly fitting
Give your mouth at least 6 hours of rest from your
dentures every day. Your mouth heals more slowly as you age and needs time to
recover from the friction of wearing dentures.
Don't put up with
dentures that are too big, click when you eat, or don't feel good. It takes
time to get used to dentures, but if they are still giving you trouble after
the first few weeks, talk to your dentist about fitting them again. Don't try
to "fix" your dentures yourself.