Dental Care for Older Adults: Addressing
Age-Related Dental Concerns

two older adults smiling while riding bicycles

Throughout our lives, proper care is crucial for maintaining overall well-being, and that includes taking care of our teeth and gums. While oral health is significant for everyone, let’s explore some dental aspects that are often more relevant to older adults.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is a common affliction among older patients. Unfortunately, dry mouth can be exacerbated by certain medications, illnesses, and treatments for other diseases. Saliva plays a critical role in keeping the mouth healthy, so when the body fails to produce enough saliva, problems such as tooth decay and gum disease are more likely to develop. To counteract dry mouth, stay well hydrated throughout the day, avoid tobacco products, and ask your dentist about saliva substitutes, such as Biotene.

Gum Disease

As plaque builds up in the mouth, it can cause gum infection and inflammation. As we age, our immune systems tend to weaken, making older adults more vulnerable to periodontal disease. Research also suggests a link between periodontal disease and dementia. To mitigate these risks, maintain a routine of twice-daily brushing, daily flossing, and antimicrobial mouthwash use. Watch for signs like persistent bad breath and bleeding gums. By addressing these concerns early, you and your dentist can effectively manage gum disease.

Oral Cancer

Older patients are at a higher risk of oral cancer diagnosis. Luckily, oral cancer is highly treatable if caught early. To stay proactive, it’s recommended to schedule biannual routine check-ups with your dentist. During these visits, your dentist and dental hygienist will conduct oral cancer screenings. If you happen to observe any changes in the mouth, including a change in color, texture, or difficulty swallowing without an illness, it’s crucial to promptly inform your doctor. Additionally, taking steps like reducing alcohol consumption, avoiding tobacco, and minimizing sun exposure can contribute to lowering the chances of developing oral cancer.

Tooth Loss

Tooth loss in older adults can happen for a number of reasons. Keep your remaining teeth healthy with a thorough oral hygiene routine, and ask your dentist about options to replace lost teeth. Dental implants, bridges, or dentures can help restore your smile’s function and radiance.

Comprehensive Dentistry for Patients of All Ages in Eden Prairie, MN

Prairie Dental Group welcomes the opportunity to help our older patients keep their oral health in top condition. If you are experiencing any of the above issues or have additional questions about your dental care, call us today to schedule an appointment. Our friendly, qualified team will keep you smiling for years to come!

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