Oral Health Care for the 50-Plus Patient

If you’re over age 50, you are part of the fastest-growing population in the United States! No matter your age, there’s no reason you can’t keep your teeth for a lifetime. Tooth loss is simply the result of oral disease, not the aging process.

Regular dental visits are especially important for seniors, since many suffer from dry mouth, which is a constant sore throat, burning sensation, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, or dry nasal passages. If you have problems with dry mouth, talk with your dentist during your next dental appointment.

Along with regular dental visits, it’s important to floss daily and brush twice a day. Seniors who brush regularly with fluoride toothpaste or use a fluoride rinse often have fewer cavities. Cavities aren’t just for kids!

Increasing years can also bring on gum and bone recession, brittle teeth, and periodontal disease, all of which can deteriorate oral health. These medical problems affect general overall health, too. Fortunately, advancing technology in oral health such as electric toothbrushes and dental implants help to preserve your teeth longer and increase your overall health! Even seniors with no natural teeth can benefit from visiting the dentist regularly, since many other aspects of oral health can be handled during routine dental visits.

Oral Health Tips for Seniors

  • Inform your dentist of any medications you are taking or any changes in medications.
  • Floss daily and brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Eat well-balanced meals and try to avoid too many sugary foods and drinks.
  • Be aware of any changes in your oral health—such as a sore that does not heal or a rough spot in your mouth—and report these changes to your dentist right away. Your dentist can be there for the earliest detection of oral cancer.
  • If you have a physical disability, or can’t hold onto your toothbrush as well as you would like due to arthritis, talk to your dentist about ways to make your home oral care easier.