White Bear Smiles

White Bear Smiles

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Geriatric Dentistry

How can we help you?

At White Bear Smiles, we strongly believe in education, both for ourselves and for our patients. We've found that patients who take charge of their dental care and ask questions about their health, our practice, and dentistry in general tend to have better overall outcomes. 

So go ahead! Ask us your questions! We're happy to take the time to give you the information you need to make decisions about your care. 

We've collected some of our most commonly heard questions here, but if you need more information or you don't see your question, don't hesitate to give us a call. We're here to help.

Geriatric Dentistry

elderly woman with female caretaker | Dental Care for Caregivers | Geriatric Dentistry in White Bear Lake

Dental Care for Caregivers

Providing dental care as a caregiver requires patience most of all. But whether it's an elderly person or one with developmental disabilities, your charge needs to practice good oral hygiene with your help.

 

How to Brush Someone Else's Teeth

First, wash your hands and put on sanitary, disposable gloves. Stand or sit where you have a good view of all the teeth and make sure you have good light. Apply only a small amount of toothpaste to the toothbrush. Brush all surfaces of each tooth and angle the toothbrush to brush gently at the gum line. Gently brush the tongue after you've finished the teeth. Help the person rinse with plain water. Think about whether a power toothbrush might make the job easier, but give your charge time to get used to one.

Also, the bathroom is not the only place where teeth can be brushed. The important thing is to get the job done. So if some other room is more comfortable for the person you're helping, that's fine. Naturally, make sure you get the person you're helping to the dentist at least twice a year for a checkup and professional cleaning.

laughing group of elderly people | Geriatric Dentistry in White Bear Lake | Protecting Teeth as You Age

If you follow some relatively simple guidelines, you should expect to not lose any. It used to be that people would expect to lose teeth, but with constantly improving dental care techniques, that's really no longer true.

 

How to Protect Your Teeth as You Age

Stay away from sugar. The average American consumes almost 100 pounds of sugar a year. Plaque, the clear, sticky substance that accumulates on your teeth every day and can cause cavities and gum disease, loves sugar.

Stop smoking. Smoking is one of the leading risk factors in the development of gum disease. Smokeless tobacco is bad, too. Its use significantly increases the risk of developing oral cancer. Speaking of plaque – be sure to remove it every day. Try to brush your teeth after every meal. The longer food residue stays in your mouth, the more contact it has with teeth.

Brush with an American Dental Association-approved fluoride toothpaste. And floss every day. Remember to rinse after flossing to wash away dislodged food particles. Follow these guidelines and you should keep a healthy smile all your life.

You're Not Alone

More and more often, this is becoming a major concern, and it's one that Dr. Anderson has gone through himself. Seniors often feel that they need less care as they get older, but now more than ever, great emphasis needs to be given to prevention and regular visits

As We Age, Our Dental Health Changes

Dentists all too often see advanced breakdown and dysfunction, leading to more complex treatment needs and expense. As we all get older, our saliva's consistency, flow, and chemical make-up often change. Combined with syndromes, disease, and medications, we can see some extensive damage to the teeth and gums. Dexterity, diet, and dementia can also play a large role in a person's ability to practice good oral hygiene at home. 

We see increased cavities, gum disease, infection, and lost teeth in this age group, and this results in less function, less enjoyment while eating, and diminished overall health. This is why, when we are younger and still pretty healthy, dentists tend to stress good oral hygiene techniques, a good diet that avoids both acid and sugar, and regular visits for cleanings and exams. Think of it as building up good habits and health now so that you can cash them in when you get older! 

Be Proactive About Elderly Dental Health

For seniors who live in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and other long-term care situations, it is very important to have talks about dental health with all the caregivers involved as well as with their primary care providers. Regular preventive care is a great continuing investment for your present and your future health. 

Contact Us

If you or a senior you know are in need of dental care, contact our office today to schedule your consultation, Here at White Bear Smiles, we take special pride in our ability to serve seniors well! 

 

More and more, this is a major concern, one that I'm going through myself. Seniors often feel they need less care as they get older, but now more than ever, greater emphasis needs to be given on prevention and regular visits. Dentists all too often see advanced breakdown and dysfunction, leading to more complex treatment needs and expense. As we all get older, our saliva's consistency, flow and chemical make-up often changes adversely, and combined with syndromes, disease and medications, can greatly damage the teeth and gums. Dexterity, diet and dementia also play a large role in a person's personal oral hygiene abilities.

We see increased cavities, gum disease, infection and lost teeth in this age group, resulting in less function, less enjoyment of eating, and lessened overall health because of it.

This is why, when we are still fairly healthy, dentists stress great oral hygiene techniques, a good diet avoiding acid and sugar, and regular visits. For seniors in assisted living and nursing home, etc., it is very important to have talks about dental health with all the caregivers involved, and their M.D.'s.

Regular preventive care is a great continuing investment for your present and future health. Here at White Bear Smiles, we take special pride in our ability to serve Seniors well!

Visit Your Dentist

The good news is that more and more people are keeping their teeth as they grow older. The most important thing is to keep visiting your dentist at the interval he recommends for your particular situation. If your health or medication situation changes, advise your dentist right away. It could have an impact on how your dental treatment proceeds.

Dental Decay as You Age

Dental decay remains a problem for the mature adult. Be sure to brush twice a day, especially after meals, and pay particular attention to the gum line. Flossing, of course, remains vital. As we age, dry mouth can become a problem. Talk to your dentist about ways to stimulate the flow of saliva. In addition to your fluoride toothpaste, your dentist may be able to recommend special toothpaste for sensitive areas in your mouth.

If you wear dentures, be sure to clean them and your mouth thoroughly each day. Talk with your dentist about how frequently you need to have an oral check-up and to have your dentures checked.

Geriatric Dental Care

The good news is that more and more people are keeping their teeth as they grow older. The most important thing is to keep visiting your dentist at the interval that they recommend for your particular situation. If your health or medication situation changes, advise your dentist right away. It could have an impact on how your dental treatment proceeds.

How to Prevent Gum Disease

Dental decay remains a problem for the mature adult. Be sure to brush twice a day, especially after meals, and pay particular attention to the gum line. Flossing, of course, remains vital. As we age, dry mouth can become a problem. Talk to your dentist about ways to stimulate the flow of saliva. In addition to your fluoride toothpaste, your dentist may be able to recommend special toothpaste for sensitive areas in your mouth.

Caring for Your Dentures

If you wear dentures, be sure to clean them and your mouth thoroughly each day. Talk with your dentist about how frequently you need to have an oral check-up and to have your dentures checked.

Different Ages Mean Different Problems

Different ages present different types of potential problems. Adolescents face problems considerably different from those faced by seniors. For example, adolescent gingivitis or gum inflammation is common. Some researchers think that this may be a result of hormonal changes at puberty; others think inadequate diet and oral hygiene are the culprits. Elderly dental patients in white bear lake mn

Receding Gums

Older people confront such changes as receding gums which usually happens on the outer side of the teeth, leaving the cementum that covers each tooth's root exposed. Once exposed, the area is vulnerable to decay and to abrasion from brushing.

Dry Mouth

Older people also will deal with wrinkling of the skin, the result of the skin not holding as much water or fat as it used to. If missing teeth, or worn-down teeth, reduce dimensions of the face, deep wrinkles may develop at the outer corners of the mouth.

So people of different ages have different concerns. Your dentist is trained to deal with all of these problems.

Apnea is an interruption or cessation of breathing. For the 2 to 4 percent of middle-aged adults affected by sleep apnea, it is not uncommon for them to stop breathing up to 70 times in an hour. These episodes can last from 10 to 30 seconds. Breathing resumes with a loud snort or gasp. Episodes of sleep apnea deprive a person of oxygen and thorough rest and can cause extreme daytime drowsiness.

Most people who suffer from sleep apnea also snore. Snoring actually is the sound of the vibration of the soft palate and the adjoining structures of the throat. It is caused by narrowing and thickening of the upper airway tissues. And when a person sleeps, the soft tissue at the back of the throat, the muscles in the airway and the tongue all relax, letting the tongue fall back into the airway.

Your dentist, in consultation with your doctor, may be able to custom-fit an oral appliance that helps keep the airway open. If you have a problem with snoring or restless sleep, talk with your dentist about solutions.

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