seniors oral health guide

Senior’s guide to Oral Care during a Pandemic

Serving areas of Okemos, Lansing, and East Lansing, MI

Seniors tend to experience poor oral health for various reasons, either from a lack of dental insurance, ability to get to a dentist, or dexterity issues that prevents them from performing daily oral hygiene. There is a strong connection between oral health and overall health. Studies report a link between poor oral hygiene and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even stroke. But now, more than ever, good oral health is essential. Dr. Christine Tenaglia, a general dentist in Okemos, wants to help by providing seniors with a guide to oral care during a pandemic.

Brush and Floss Daily

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), it is recommended that you brush twice a day and floss daily to remove plaque and bacteria that are responsible for cavities and gum disease. If you have trouble gripping a regular toothbrush, then an electric toothbrush may be better for you. Whether you have a few or all of your natural teeth, you should floss once a day. Also, floss between any gaps, such as under dental bridges and implants, as these areas are prone to trapping food and bacteria that could increase your risk for gum disease. Remember, there is no better way to remove the bacteria than the toothbrush and floss touching the teeth, but if that doesn’t work, a water flosser or an electric toothbrush is a great alternative.

Eat Nutritious Food

Your diet has a direct impact on your oral health. Consuming vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein will provide the necessary vitamins and minerals for a healthy mouth. Also, foods that are rich in calcium, such as milk, almonds, and salmon are excellent for teeth as they promote strong bones. East Lansing dentist, Dr. Tenaglia, recommends limiting or avoiding foods that are high in carbohydrates, heavily processed, or full of sugar. These foods could be detrimental to your oral health and create a bacteria-friendly environment, potentially resulting in gum disease.

Avoid Tobacco

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC), smokers are seven times more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers. In addition, smoking increases the risk of oral and throat cancers, as well as oral fungal infections. There are several health benefits to smoking cessation that affects not only your oral health but your overall health too. If you are interested in learning more about smoking cessation programs, contact Tenaglia Smiles.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol often contains high levels of sugar, which fuels cavity-causing bacteria. The Dental Health Foundation states that seniors who drink alcohol are six times more likely to develop oral cancer, cavities, and damage to their teeth. Therefore, if you are suffering from oral health concerns, Dr. Tenaglia recommends reducing the amount of alcohol you drink to prevent adverse health conditions.

Visit Your Dentist

The best way to prevent dental complications is to visit our Okemos dental office for regular checkups and cleanings. During the appointment, Dr. Tenaglia assesses your oral health and recommends necessary treatment options for any dental concerns. The ADA recommends that everyone visit the dentist twice a year to prevent gum disease, cavities, and other dental concerns.

Dentist for Seniors in Okemos, Lansing, and East Lansing, Michigan

During the coronavirus, regular dental care at home is necessary to prevent oral health complications. If you have an elderly parent or loved one, encourage them to practice good oral hygiene, ask how they are doing, and find out if they have dental concerns that need to be addressed. Dr. Tenaglia, a board-certified dentist in Okemos, offers telehealth consultations to discuss patient conditions to determine if treatment is necessary. When an appointment is scheduled, we will ask prescreening questions, take your temperature, and give you a special mouth rinse to kill the virus intraorally upon arriving to our office. All non-clinical areas are disinfected using medical grade disinfectant after each visit. Dr. Christine Tenaglia continues to maintain the highest level of sterilization and disinfecting of clinical areas. For an appointment, please call (517) 347-6733 or schedule an appointment online.

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