As you age, oral care becomes a necessity since several oral conditions may crop up. Seniors are often plagued with a dry mouth due to medication or natural body processes. Similarly, with constant use, teeth undergo natural wear and tear over time. All these aspects increase the risk of cavities and oral diseases. The risk is even greater when you have diabetes. Diabetes predisposes you to gum disease and compounds the issue of a dry mouth. Oral fungal infections and slow healing after tooth extractions are also common. Fortunately, there's something you can do about it. If you're a senior with diabetes, here are some tips to maintain your oral health.
Quit smoking and drinking.
These are awful habits, especially for seniors with diabetes. They are responsible for a multitude of problems and will even affect your oral health. Smoking reduces blood circulation to the gums and therefore increases the occurrence of various gum diseases. It may cause serious problems that may mean losing your teeth. On the other hand, alcohol dehydrates the tissues in your body and will reduce the secretion of saliva in your mouth. This leads to a dry mouth condition. If quitting is a problem due to addiction, seek a rehab facility. Also, involve your family and friends so that they may support your decision and keep you sober.
Keep your mouth hydrated.
Saliva is a monumental component of your oral health. It facilitates chewing and has various antimicrobial components like lysozyme that guard against tooth decay. Saliva also prevents acidic conditions from developing in your mouth, so ensure that saliva secretion in your mouth is adequate. Chew sugar-free gum to stimulate your salivary glands, and remember to drink lots of water to increase saliva secretion. When using mouthwash, make sure it's alcohol-free to avoid oral dehydration. Some medications are diuretics that known to cause a dry mouth. If you are taking such medication, contact your doctor for alternatives.
Practise fastidious oral hygiene.
Brush after every meal or at least twice a day. Wait for about 30 minutes after eating before brushing to protect your enamel that has been softened by acids in the food. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to prevent irritation of your gums, as such an irritation may cause gum disease. You could also switch to a fluoride toothpaste to strengthen your enamel, and ensure you brush along the gum line to remove any food particles present. Diabetes makes you prone to fungal infections such as thrush due to the excessive sugar in your saliva. Therefore, use antiseptic mouthwash daily.
For more tips, speak with a professional such as Dr Michael Finkelstein Dental.