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    Dental Care for Older Adults: FAQ

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    It’s normal for your gums and the supporting bones in your mouth to change shape as you age. This can make your dentures feel loose.

    Dentures are made to fit perfectly, so if you feel a looseness, it’s likely they need to be adjusted to make them fit again. See your dentist as soon as possible. For a temporary fix, use a denture adhesive to keep them stable until your appointment.

    Don’t try to change the shape of your dentures yourself. Even if you think you can make them fit better, you could end up damaging them.

    9. Does my dentist need to know the medications I’m taking?

    Yes. Each time you visit your dentist, tell her about all the medications you use.

    Before you go, write a list of all the drugs you take, include their doses and how often you take them. Over-the-counter products, herbal products, and supplements should go on the list, too. Bring this information to the dentist when you have an appointment. She will use it to make a treatment plan for you.

    It also helps them to know everything about your recent medical history, including hospital stays, surgeries, recent illnesses, or changes in your health since your last visit.

    10. I've heard that dental implants are an alternative to dentures. What should I know about them?

    The good news is, older adults are keeping their natural teeth longer. But some people will need dentures, bridges, or another option like dental implants.

    These devices offer a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth. The implants have an artificial tooth root that the surgeon puts into your jaw to hold a tooth or bridge in place.

    They may be a good option if you lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, or an injury. But they're not for everyone. You need to have healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implant in place. Talk to your dentist to see if they're right for you.

    11. I have a hard time brushing my teeth because I have arthritis in my hands. What can you recommend?

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    How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

    Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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    Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

    Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

    SOURCES:

    American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

    This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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