Elderly Dental Care
Great Neck & Mid-Island Dental Associates offer superior services and assistance to our elderly patients in order to meet their unique dental needs and ensure continued dental health. This section contains information about the services we provide as well as some helpful tips for taking care of your teeth and gums.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I maintain good dental health?
Maintaining proper oral care is the best way to keep your smile healthy and attractive well into your retirement. It is important to brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and an ADA-approved, fluoride toothpaste. Flossing regularly also is important, as it helps to remove the plaque between your teeth and below the gum line that your toothbrush can’t reach.
What are some dental health problems I should look for?
Two of the most common dental health problems patients should be aware of are gingivitis and advanced gum (periodontal) disease. An estimated three out of four adults over the age of 35 are affected by some form of gum disease. The earliest form of gum disease is gingivitis, which is caused by the bacteria found in plaque. This bacteria can cause swelling, irritation and redness of the gums, and may result in bleeding when a person brushes his or her teeth.
If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a more serious form of gum disease that can cause a person’s gums to recede or, in worse cases, harm the jawbone. Serious gum disease can lead to tooth loss, which is particularly common in patients with osteoporosis.
It is important for patients of all ages to visit our office for proper periodontal care. If regular dental care proves too difficult, a member of our skilled dental health team may be able to suggest alternatives to flossing or prescribe medication to prevent a gum disease-related infection from becoming worse.
What if arthritis makes it too hard for me to brush my teeth?
Patients with arthritis often mention that is it difficult for them to brush or floss their teeth. If this is the case, a member of our expert dental health team can meet with you to suggest a new dental care routine. We often suggest using alternative dental care products that are designed specifically for arthritis sufferers.
Other advice we often give patients with arthritis is to attach their toothbrush to a larger object (e.g., a ball) in order to make the toothbrush easier and more comfortable to handle. We also recommend that patients with arthritis use an electric toothbrush, which often helps because the electric toothbrush does much of the work for the patient.
What are the warning signs of oral cancer?
Oral cancer occurs most often in people who are at least 40 years old. It is usually difficult to detect in its early stages, which is when oral cancer can be treated most effectively. However, it is important to contact our offices if you notice any unusual white or red patches on your tongue or any sores in or around your mouth that do not heal within two weeks. Patients who wear dentures should schedule regular dental exams so that we can screen for any warning signs of cancer.
Should I be concerned about dry mouth?
Dry mouth could be something to worry about, especially if it causes problems with eating, tasting, swallowing, or speaking. Also referred to as xerostomia, dry mouth can be caused by a variety of factors affecting the salivary glands, such as certain medications, diseases, or even cancer treatments. Dry mouth can lead to severe complications in specific cases, such as during radiation therapy.
As a good general way to combat dry mouth, we suggest that patients drink lots of water and avoid alcohol, tobacco, sweets, and beverages or food containing caffeine. If you are experiencing severe dry mouth, our team of dental health experts may suggest medications to help you.
How can caring for my teeth and gums improve my overall health?
According to a number of dental health studies, maintaining good oral health can help people avoid serious illnesses or conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Apart from brushing and flossing regularly, it is important for patients to schedule regular dental check-ups at least twice a year to ensure optimal dental health.
To schedule a dental appointment at Great Neck or Mid-Island Dental Associates, contact either of our Long Island offices today.