Senior Dental Care
Dental Care for Seniors
After age 55, you’ll begin to see changes in your oral health. As you age, so does your mouth. Dental health is linked to whole-body wellness, which is why it’s critical that as you age, you continue to properly care for your teeth, especially because people over 55 have the highest risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
Whether you have all of your natural teeth, partials or dentures, it is crucial to take care of your teeth once you’re over 55. Keeping up with your oral hygiene, can keep your natural teeth healthy throughout life.
We are proud to offer a variety of dental services to help you get—and keep—a healthy smile, no matter your age. Explore some of our senior-focused services below.
What are common dental problems among seniors?
Darkened teeth: As you get older, the bone-like tissue under the enamel of your teeth (Dentin) will begin to change and ultimately become thinner, causing the darker, yellow color of teeth. This, coupled with lifelong years of consuming food and beverages that cause stains, you may notice darker teeth.
Dry mouth: Reduced saliva flow is a common side effect of over-the-counter and prescription medications, more regularly taken by seniors, making dry mouth one of the common oral health changes experienced by seniors.
Gum disease: This problem is often experienced by older adults and can be a result of plaque buildup, poor-fitting dentures, poor diets, or even certain diseases such as cancer, anemia, and diabetes.
Root decay: As you get older, it’s common for gums to recede, causing tooth roots to become exposed. When this happens, your roots are more prone to decay because they do not have any enamel to protect them.
What dental problems can cause health issues?
Taking care of your teeth, and gums, as you age is critical to avoid tooth loss and reduce your risk of other health-related problems, such as:
- Heart disease: Bacteria from your mouth can contribute to cardiovascular disease, and even heart attacks, by moving to your bloodstream through your gum tissue and into the walls of blood vessels.
- Respiratory infections: Bacteria from your mouth can also reach the lungs, causing infections in older adults which oftentimes leads to pneumonia. Your dental health is crucial for your respiratory health.
- Diabetes: Seniors with diabetes are more susceptible to developing gum disease, making it more important than ever that you keep good oral hygiene, because it can become harder to control blood sugar levels once you have gum disease.
How can seniors take care of their teeth as they age?
As you age, your immune system naturally weakens, making taking care of your teeth and gums more important than ever, especially because after the age of 50 plaque builds up more quickly and can be more difficult to get rid of.
Here are our tips for dental care for seniors.
- Practice good dental hygiene by brushing and flossing your teeth after every meal. Electric toothbrushes are extremely helpful for those with arthritis.
- Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and exams. This will help identity issues early on, so you can stop and prevent large, costly problems.
- Drink water. Water has numerous health benefits for your oral health by washing away food and helping prevent dry mouth.
- Stop smoking. Smoking is not only hard on your teeth, it puts you at a higher risk for lung and oral cancers. Quitting this habitat will decrease your risk of health issues–dental or otherwise.