Sometimes, even if we start practicing good oral care late in life, the damage is already done. Badly damaged teeth may need to be removed completely. Dentures -- "false teeth" -- can replace all your teeth, or partial dentures can replace just a few that need to be pulled out.
Your dentist will make them to fit your mouth perfectly, but over time they may need to be adjusted, so make sure you see your dentist regularly, even if you have false teeth. Also, remember, just because the teeth aren't real, it doesn't mean you should neglect cleaning them. Food can become lodged in the teeth, causing gum problems or bad breath. Brush dentures with toothpaste specially made for false teeth, and soak them in denture cleanser every night when you go to bed.
Dentures take some getting used to, especially when eating for the first time. Dentists recommend starting out with soft food that won't stick to your teeth. Cut your food into small pieces, chew on both sides of your mouth, and be careful not to eat anything too hot or too cold (you won't feel temperature as well with false teeth).
For more about oral hygiene, check out the links below.
- "Dental Care for Seniors." WebMD. 2011. (Aug. 29, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-care-seniors
- "Dental Health and Fluoride Treatment." WebMD. 2011. (Aug. 29, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/fluoride-treatment
- "Dry Mouth." MedicineNet.com. 2011. (Aug. 29, 2011) http://www.medicinenet.com/dry_mouth/article.htm
- "Dry Mouth." Washington Dental Service. 2009. (Aug. 29, 2011) http://www.deltadentalwa.com/Guest/Public/AboutUs/WDS%20Foundation/Strategic%20Focus%20and%20Programs/Dry%20Mouth.aspx
- "Gum Disease Links to Heart Attack and Stroke." Perio.org. 2011. (Aug. 29, 2011) http://www.perio.org/consumer/mbc.heart.htm
- Lamster, Northridge and Takamura. "Improving Oral Health for the Elderly: An Interdisciplinary Approach." New York: Springer, 2008. Print. http://books.google.com/books?id=qs2v9Sm-dVoC&lpg=PA3&dq=Boudy%20Elfeky&pg=PA3#v=onepage&q&f=false
- Oral Care as We Age." TruthInAging.com. June 24, 2011. (Aug. 29, 2011) http://truthinaging.com/face/oral-care-as-we-age
- "Oral Health Center." WebMD. 2011. (Aug. 29, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/default.htm
- "Oral Health for Older Americans." CDC Division of Oral Health. 2006. (Aug. 29, 2011) http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/publications/factsheets/adult_older.htm
- "Periodontal disease: Risk Factors." University of Maryland Medical Center. 2011. (Aug. 29, 2011) http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/who_gets_periodontal_disease_000024_4.htm
- "Periodontitis." Mayo Clinic. Nov. 23, 2010. (Aug. 29, 2011) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/periodontitis/DS00369
- Smith, Chris. "Study Says Tooth Decay Prevalent Among Oldest Elderly." E-Dental.com. Dec. 7, 2000. (Aug. 29, 2011) http://www.e-dental.com/article.mvc/Study-says-tooth-decay-prevalent-among-oldest-0001
- "Taking Care of Your Teeth and Mouth." National Institute on Aging. July 22, 2011. (Aug. 29, 2011) http://www.nia.nih.gov/healthinformation/publications/teeth.htm
- "What is Plaque?" Colgate.com. 2011. (Aug. 29, 2011) http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-Basics/Common-Concerns/Plaque-and-Tartar/article/What-is-Plaque.cvsp
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