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UPDATED 10.25.19

Aging Well in the Gorge October 30th 2019


What do you remember about visiting the dentist when you were a child? Fishing for a small toy out of the fish tank if you were good during your visit? Or a long needle painfully inserted in your gum before filling a cavity? 

However you may feel about visiting a dentist, maintaining good oral health is important at any age, because as older adults we still encounter cavities, gum disease and dry mouth. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has published a fact sheet for older adults on these three oral health issues which you can find by googling NIH Older adults and oral health. (And if you’re wondering as I was, craniofacial is a medical term that relates to the bones of the skull and face.)

But you already know the basics to prevent cavities and gum disease because you’ve heard them since you were a child: use a fluoride toothpaste; brush twice daily and floss regularly; and see a dentist for regular check-ups.

But one problem I only recently encountered is dry mouth: the feeling there is not enough saliva in your mouth. In my case it is a side effect of one of my medications, but it can also be caused by dehydration and disease. Since saliva helps keep harmful germs in check, less saliva increases the risk of developing tooth decay. If you think you have dry mouth and it feels uncomfortable, see a dentist or physician to find relief.

A challenge though is Medicare doesn’t pay for dental work - as if your mouth is not a part of your body. You must purchase a separate Dental plan. (Several dentists offer their own insurance plans.) But just as you take care of the rest of your body, it is important to practice good dental hygiene as we grow older.

And as an addendum, I just learned from a friend that before his hip replacement he had to have a dentist sign-off that there were no infections in his gums - and it cost over $800! Another reason to see your dentist regularly.

Here's a shout out to the local Elks. They have moved into the same building as the Eagles but don’t get the idea they are going away – they are still doing good things for the community. For example, they just donated $1500 to The Dalles Meals-on-Wheals which provides home delivered meals as well as serving noon meals at the Center. Because of limited federal funding, Meals-on-Wheels appreciates any donations. And they are always looking for drivers!

On November 5th at 1:00, Kerry Cobb will be discussing Art Masterpieces. In her presentation you will learn about some of the most famous pieces of western art and why they are so iconic and the stories behind their creation - from Michelangelo’s David to Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus to Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

And on Friday November 8th there will be a bus going from the Center to Hood River to tour the Art Gallery at the Columbia Center for The Arts (CCA) and see the live performance of An Evening of Poe - with dinner in between. We’ll leave the Center at 3:15 and return to The Dalles around 9:30. The show and transportation are free (thanks to CCA), so the only cost is your dinner. Call the Center to sign up.

Now that Gorge Happiness Month is almost over, don’t forget the 3 daily habits proven to make us happier and healthier: gratitude, acts of kindness and a moment of silence.

The game show hosted by Allen Ludden where two teams attempt to convey mystery words to each other using only single-word clues was Password. I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Barbara Cadwell, Jess Birge, Cheri Brent and Alice Mattox this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Continuing October’s theme of 60’s television shows, this week’s question is about the animated television series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show which aired from 1959 through 1964 and was known for its quality writing and wry humor. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of their main adversaries - the Russian-like spies working to "catch Moose and Squirrel"? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of Fearless Leader.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to keep my body’s engine light from coming on. Until we meet again, keep living your life with courage, humor and gratitude.
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“If only my teeth were as white as my legs.” Unknown

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