Seniors and Oral Health
It's Only Bad Breath. Or is it?
Breath odor is the scent of the air you breathe out of your mouth. Unpleasant, distinctive, or offensive breath odor is commonly called bad breath.
Alternative Names: Halitosis
-In some cases bad breath may be a symptom of an illness
-Consumption of certain food or beverages (such as cabbage, garlic, raw onions, or coffee)
-Foreign body in the nose (usually in children)
-Poor dental hygiene
-Bowel obstruction (can cause breath to smell like feces)
-Chronic renal failure (can cause breath to smell like ammonia)
-Diabetes (fruity or sweet chemical smell with ketoacidosis)
Use proper dental hygiene (especially flossing), and remember that mouthwashes are not effective in treating the underlying problem.
Fresh parsley or a strong mint are often effective ways to fight temporary bad breath. Avoid smoking. Otherwise, follow prescribed therapy to treat the underlying cause.
When to Contact a Dental Professional
-Breath odor persists and there is not an obvious cause (such as smoking or eating odor-causing foods).
-You have breath odor and signs of a respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, or face pain with discharge from the nose
Some things your dentist or hygienist might ask you:
Do you take vitamin supplements?
Do you smoke?
Does good oral hygiene improve the odor?
What home care measures have you tried? How effective are they?
Is there a recent sore throat, sinus infection, tooth abscess, or other illness?
What other symptoms do you have?
The physical examination will include a thorough examination of the mouth and the nose.
You may be in need of a thorough dental examination and cleaning.
Our team of dental specialists and staff strive to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your teeth and gums. Please use our dental library to learn more about dental problems and treatments available. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, contact us.
More and more people are avoiding the need for dentures as they grow older, going against the notion that false teeth are a normal part of growing older.
In fact, there's usually no reason for you NOT to keep your teeth your entire life, providing you maintain a healthy balanced diet and practice good oral hygiene.
Another desirable side effect of good oral hygiene: avoiding more serious problems such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even stroke. Indeed, medical research is beginning to show that a healthy mouth equates to a healthy body and a longer life.
Dexterity and Arthritis
People who suffer from arthritis or other problems of dexterity may find it difficult and painful to practice good oral hygiene.
Thankfully, industry has responded with ergonomically designed devices such as toothbrushes and floss holders that make it easier to grasp and control.
You can also use items around the house to help you. Inserting the handle of your toothbrush into a small rubber ball, or extending the handle by attaching a small piece of plastic or Popsicle stick may also do the trick.
Floss can also be tied into a tiny loop on either side, making it easier to grasp and control the floss with your fingers.