As we age, it is especially important to be aware of the conditions that can affect oral health. Maintaining good oral care is important for healthy aging. Regular check-ups with your dentist certainly help!
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Oral allergy syndrome is a type of food allergy caused by uncooked fruits, raw vegetables and nuts. The most common symptom is itching of the mouth and throat. In most cases avoiding the foods that cause symptoms is the best treatment.
There is not enough evidence to know if the benefits of oral cancer screening outweigh the harms for people without symptoms. Reduce your risk of oral cancer: don't smoke and drink alcohol only in moderation. See a doctor if you have unusual lumps or bumps in your mouth or on your lips.
Some tips for temporary relief of dry mouth: chew sugar-free gum, limit caffeine intake, use a humidifier and sip water (more ideas in this resource). The best way to treat dry mouth in the long-term is to address the cause.
Brush teeth at least 2 times a day using a soft brush and toothpaste with fluoride for 2 minutes. Replace the brush every 3-4 months. Brush teeth before eating or at least an half hour after eating. Clean in between teeth at least once a day.
Doctors may recommend taking antibiotics before going to the dentist to prevent endocarditis (a heart infection), although the risk is low for most people. Very few people should take antibiotics before the dentist.
Burning mouth can be uncomfortable and make it difficult to eat or fall asleep. Drink plenty of water and suck on ice, avoid acidic or spicy foods, smoking, alcohol and carbonated drinks and manage your stress.
To keep your dentures clean, rinse them after eating, soak them overnight and clean them with denture cleaner at least once a day. Don’t use whitening toothpaste, hot water or bleaches. Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups.
Keep your mouth clean, moist, and avoid a sugary diet to prevent bad breath. Change your toothbrush and get dental checkup regularly. More in this resource about causes, symptoms and treatments for bad breath.
People with advanced illness may experience dry mouth, mouth sores and other discomforts. Mouth care 3-4 times a day can bring comfort, prevent infections and ease absorption of medications. Tips for caregiving in this resource.
The importance of brushing your teeth is highly under-rated. In fact not brushing your teeth or maintaining good oral hygiene puts you at risk for serious health complications. This may be the case in some long term care homes where neglect of oral health may be a form of elder abuse.
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