When asked what a good oral hygiene practice is, many will list only two or three procedures: brushing twice a day, flossing twice a day, and, to some, using mouthwash regularly.

This is a good starting point, however, this list isn’t as detailed as it should be. If this is the only oral care routine you have been following for most of your life, it is no surprise that this ambiguous list has resulted in bad oral hygiene habits in seniors.

Our dentists have a few additional points to add to this list. When all of these steps are acted upon, it not only creates better oral habits, it helps to maintain a beautiful smile for years to come:

1. See a dentist regularly.

Seniors procrastinate seeing a dentist for a variety of reasons, ranging from fear to restricted mobility. Patients who put off going to a dentist for long enough may eventually become so scarred by the appearance of their teeth and gums that even if they did get over their fear or have access to a dentist, they would still pass up an appointment. Dr. Jill Ombrello and Dr. Michael Rosellini have created a judgment-free space where seniors can get the help they truly need.

2. Don’t brush immediately after eating a meal.

You may think you’re doing your teeth and gums a favor by brushing immediately after a meal, but you are actually creating the potential for more decay. If you eat or drink something acidic, it’s important to wait at least 30 minutes before brushing. Acid weakens the enamel which can be damaged by the firm bristles of a toothbrush.

3. Dry mouth is a red flag.

A common side effect of many prescription medications is dry mouth. If you are prone to experiencing dry mouth as a side effect, don’t shrug it off as an annoyance – seek attention from a dentist! Saliva is key in cleaning your teeth and acting as a barrier against cavities.

4. Pain is not the only sign of a problem.

Even if you feel that you have a good cleaning routine, dental problems can still develop. Don’t wait to seek help until there is pain. Most issues that can occur in the mouth aren’t extremely painful until they reach a more severe stage, which means they will be more challenging to treat. We recommend meeting with our dental professionals every six months as a preventative measure!

If you have any questions about this list, contact our team today!