Caring for Aging Teeth

Older couple smiling in the park

​Many seniors undergo drastic changes throughout their lifetime, and it is only a matter of time before they experience severe tooth loss or pain. This could be due to a number of factors that could impact their oral health and well-being. One of the main reasons is the lack of proper oral care, but that is just one factor. Many seniors might be wondering how they can ensure that their mouths remain healthy.

“It’s not rocket science,” says Dr. Alexandra George, DDS. “We eat to survive, so if our teeth are not up to the task, how are we to keep living a pleasant, satisfying life?”

The main issues that could arise when someone reaches older age is a change in their ability to brush and floss their teeth. This could be due to arthritis, jaw issues and more. By not being able to properly brush their teeth, seniors could be increasing their risk of gum disease, like the dreaded periodontal disease or, in a worst-case scenario, tooth loss, as well as other oral issues like thrush.

“Granted,” says George, “there’s not only the threat of gum disease that may be a concern for many. It could also be a case of dry mouth from taking certain medications.”

Root decay is another issue – since teeth are used for our entire lives, we are likely to see root deterioration by the time we reach our golden years.

There could also be the risk of an ill-fitted denture that is causing stomatitis, inflammation or soreness in the mouth.

The Proper Care of Aging Teeth

To ensure the longevity of teeth, patients should be following the general guidelines of proper oral care: flossing once every day and brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day. Elderly patients should make sure to go to regular checkups to receive professional cleanings and care.

Many seniors are on a fixed income and cannot afford an expensive dentist visit. However, there are financial aid options available for those with tight funds. They should call their local dental society to ask about what financial assistance is available in their area. Medicare or Medicaid may also be available.

Dr. Alexandra S. George

Medically reviewed by Dr. Alexandra S. George - D.D.S., L.Vl.I.F. on March 9th, 2020