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Dental Implants: A Guide for Seniors

If you are a senior considering dental implants, you may have to worry about issues other dental patients don't have to think about. For example, you may need more time to recover after receiving your implants. My name is Jodi, and I've been working with seniors for years. I decided to create this blog to help the seniors I can't meet in person. In this space, I'm going to post entries on everything related to dental implants and seniors. From tips on flossing implants after arthritis has claimed some of your dexterity, to guiding you through the implants-vs-dentures debate, this blog is designed for you. Thanks for reading. I hope you find what you need!



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Dental Implants: A Guide for Seniors

Common Dental Hygiene Mistakes

by Jimmy Carter

It might come as a surprise to learn that even a consistent, twice-daily dental hygiene routine isn't always enough to stave off tooth decay and gum disease. There are quite a few mistakes you might be making that could lead to you needing extensive dental work in a few years' time. Here are some of the most common oral hygiene errors that people make. 

Brushing immediately after a meal

It's common knowledge that the acid produced by bacteria-laden plaque instantly begins to attack your tooth enamel after you finish eating something. This is why many health-conscious people rush to the sink to brush their teeth immediately after they eat a meal.

However, brushing your teeth during the 30 minutes or so after you have consumed a piece of food can actually do more harm than good, particularly if you have eaten anything that is very sugary or acidic, such as a dessert or some citrus fruit. These types of foods temporarily soften the tooth enamel, making it more vulnerable to damage during this period of time.  

If you're concerned about the harm that might be done during this 30-minute window and want an alternative to brushing, try flossing thoroughly and rinsing your mouth out with a glass of water (the latter will help to wash away some of the harmful acids).

Brushing vigorously with a hard toothbrush

Many people mistakenly believe that the faster and more vigorously they brush their teeth, the cleaner and healthier their mouths will be. In reality, using a hard-bristled toothbrush and too much pressure can actually cause a receding of the gum line. These can lead to an increase in tooth sensitivity and a greater chance of tooth loss in the future.  Furthermore, if you have veneers, you may end up needing to have them replaced, as the dark root of the teeth underneath may become exposed by the gums being pushed back.

As such, it's best to take a gentle approach to your oral hygiene. Invest in a soft-bristled brush (look for one designed for sensitive teeth) and be very conscious of how much pressure you are using; it's all too easy to brush too hard when you're in a rush or to simply not be paying enough attention.

Failing to floss regularly

It's a common misconception that flossing is simply an optional extra in one's dental hygiene routine—something that you do when you have a bit of time to spare. The truth is that flossing is just as crucial to the health of your teeth and gums as brushing. When done correctly, it removes almost all of the harmful, decay-causing bacteria from areas of the mouth that a toothbrush cannot reach; that is, in between your teeth and underneath the gum line.

If you do decide to incorporate flossing into your routine however, it is important to learn how to do it properly, as a poor flossing technique can potentially damage your gums, by either pushing food particles further beneath the gum line or by cutting into the gums themselves. If you're not quite sure how to do it, don't be afraid to ask your dentist to show you the correct method.