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Good oral hygiene is a must for Canada's seniors

(NC)—Thanks to healthier lifestyles, as well as advances in oral and medical care, Canadians can expect to keep most, if not all of their natural teeth as they enter their senior years. But keeping those teeth healthy can be a challenge.

According to the Canadian Health Measures Survey, 53% of adults ages 60 to 79 do not have dental insurance, and the lack of coverage is one of the main reasons why they don't see a dental professional. Because older adults have specific dental needs, seniors and their caregivers should be aware of the importance of regular dental care.

Bacteria from the mouth can travel and develop into serious infections affecting overall health, specialists say. Many medications can cause dry mouth, a condition that can contribute to cavities and other oral problems. Seniors also develop more cavities on the roots of their teeth than younger adults. As a result, all older adults should be encouraged to brush natural teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and clean in between the teeth at least once a day. Dentures (full or partial) should be cleaned and soaked daily and the gums should be brushed and massaged, either with a soft toothbrush or with a warm, damp cloth.

Whether you're at home or in a long-term care residence, good oral hygiene coupled with regular treatments by a dental hygienist can help to prevent more serious health problems. Together, you can plan a daily oral care routine that will keep your teeth, and you, healthy for life.

More information on this topics available online at www.dentalhygienecanada.ca.

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