Oral Health Issues That Seniors Face

Dentist Blog

As a person ages, their oral health can decline. Senior dental patients may find it increasingly difficult to care for their teeth and gums as neurological issues, such as dementia, and motion-limiting conditions, such as arthritis, become more prevalent. Here are a few oral health problems that people of advanced age sometimes face.


Kids often experience tooth decay. However, dental decay is also an issue among seniors, especially when it goes untreated. Many older people who develop dental caries in their teeth may not receive treatment promptly. Thus, cavities can progress, leading to significant dental issues, such as tooth loss and dental infections. 

To limit the damage caused by decay, seniors should continue to visit their dentist at least twice a year. During these routine appointments, the dentist can identify and treat dental decay in the early stages.


Xerostomia, which is commonly called dry mouth, occurs when the amount of saliva in the mouth is reduced. In older people, the salivary flow may decline due to an increase in the number of medications that they take. Once salivary levels diminish, tooth decay and gum disease are more likely to occur.

Dental decay and periodontal inflammation are caused by an increase in bacterial acids in the mouth. Saliva naturally washes away oral microbes and dilutes bacterial acids, but when salivary flow is reduced, the acid is more concentrated and consequently more damaging.

To help eliminate dry mouth, seniors should ensure that they remain well hydrated. Thus, they should ingest large amounts of fluids and reduce their intake of dehydrating substances, such as alcoholic and caffeinated drinks. 

Periodontal Disease

Severe gum disease is characterized by an infection of the gingival tissues. The condition can affect a person of any age. However, it is more likely to occur in an older person and may lead to tooth loss. Gum disease may first appear as minor gum irritation and usually results from inadequate dental hygiene. As plaque is allowed to accumulate on the teeth, it hardens to form tartar.

Tartar builds up along the gum line and promotes the inflammation of the soft tissues. As gum disease progresses, the gums retract from the teeth. Also, bacteria can accumulate in the spaces between the teeth and gums, leading to infections.  To avoid gum problems, seniors should brush, floss, and visit their dentist regularly.

To learn more about protecting your dental health as you age, schedule a consultation with your preferred family dentistry office.


11 April 2018

Improving My Dental Appointments

After dealing with a few root canals, I realized that it was time to take my dental hygiene a more seriously. I talked with my dentist about what I could do differently, and he was full of great suggestions that would help. He walked me through different ways to brush, floss, and take care of tartar buildup, and it was really amazing to see the difference that it made. I also started taking a fluoride supplement to strengthen my enamel. When I made it to my next appointment, my dentist was blown away with the improvement. This blog is all about improving your dental appointments by keeping your teeth healthier.