Visit your dentist regularly for a complete dental checkup that includes an oral cancer exam.This is equally important for people who wear complete dentures. Oral cancer doesn’t care whether or not you have natural teeth.Oral cancer is more common than you may think, and older adults may be at a greater risk.As with other cancers,early detection saves lives. And dentists are the most skilled at detecting oral cancer early as a part of every routine checkup. Open sores,white or reddish patches,and other changes in the lips, tongue and lining of the mouth may be signs of oral cancer or other potentially serious diseases.You should contact your dentist if any of these conditions last 14 days or longer.Your dentist can also evaluate any problems that your medications may create for your mouth. Saliva is one of our most precious natural resources for good oral health throughout life. Dry mouth is often an unwanted side effect of many important and life- saving drugs that are commonly taken by older adults. Common medications that cause dry mouth are:
• High blood pressure medications, such as water pills
• Cholesterol lowering drugs
• Pain medications, sedatives and muscle relaxants
• Anxiety, depression and most other psychiatric medications
• Allergy and asthma medications
• Seizure medications
• Medications for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases
If you have dry mouth, talk to your dentist about ways to reduce the symptoms and maintain good oral health, for example, using an over the counter mouthwash or spray that can help moisten your mouth.
Bring these to your dental checkup:
-An up-to-date list of your medications including vitamin supplements
-An up-to-date list of your medical conditions and allergies.
-Information about your health care providers,including all of your doctors and their phone numbers and your previous dentist (if applicable).
-Information about your emergency contacts.
-Your dental insurance or Medicaid cards.
-Your dentures or partials, even if you don’t wear them.