Rewinding the Years: Dental Care Tips for Older Adults

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Rewinding the Years: Dental Care Tips for Older Adults

Once my children were grown and on their own, I decided it was time to care of me. One of the first things I did was make an appointment with the dentist. I quickly discovered that years of not keeping up with my own dental care had taken a heavy toll on my teeth. Whereas I thought my teeth were just fine, the dentist pointed out several problems that were going to require a lot of work. When talking to friends, I found out that many of them were in the same boat. This blog is for people like me who just did not have time to keep up with their own dental care.

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The Trouble With Thrush: How To Prevent Oral Yeast Infections

If you wear dentures, you probably know to watch for signs of sores, and to have your dentures adjusted whenever they stop fitting properly. However, you might not know that you also need to watch for thrush. If you're not sure what thrush is, it's a fungal infection that's caused by an overabundance of candida albicans, more commonly referred to as yeast. Simply put, thrush is like a yeast infection in your mouth. Unfortunately, dentures provide the perfect environment for thrush to develop. If you're not sure what it looks like, it's a white, patchy rash that develops on the inside of your mouth. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to prevent thrush.

Keep Your Mouth Clean

To prevent thrush, the most important thing you can do is keep your mouth clean. That means you need to remove your dentures at least twice a day, and thoroughly brush your teeth. You should also floss your teeth at least twice a day. While your dentures are out, give them a good cleaning too. Brush them with a clean denture brush and then rinse them well.

Disinfect Your Dentures Weekly

You might not realize this, but in addition to the daily cleaning you'll give your dentures, you'll also need to disinfect them at least once a week. Keeping them disinfected will help keep thrush away, by removing the bacteria that can cause yeast to grow in your mouth. To disinfect your dentures, place equal parts water and distilled vinegar in a bowl. Carefully place your dentures in the solution and allow them to soak overnight. In the morning, remove the dentures, rinse them off well, place them in a clean bowl, and pour a bit of germ-killing mouthwash over them. The mouthwash will kill any germs that were left behind, and leave your dentures tasting minty fresh.

Rinse with Salt Water Daily

In addition to proper dental hygiene, and denture disinfecting, you should also rinse your mouth with salt water once a day. The salt water will neutralize any yeast that's trying to grow on the surface of your mouth, and heal any sores that might have developed. For an effective salt water rinse, put ¾ teaspoon of salt into a cup of water, and swish the solution around in your mouth. Be sure to spit the solution out. To get rid of the salt water taste, rinse with fresh water once you're done rinsing.

See Your Dentist Regularly

If you've had a problem with thrush in the past, it can return without proper treatment. In addition to the preventative steps provided above, be sure to see your dentist at least twice a year. They'll be able to identify problems that could be causing the recurrence of thrush, and help you find additional ways to combat the problem.