Are Regular Oral Care Habits Enough For The Elderly? | Dr. Alex Midtown NYC Cosmetic Dentist

Are Regular Oral Care Habits Enough For The Elderly?

Increased understanding of dental well-being in recent years has seen older adults keep their natural teeth well into their 90s and beyond.  But do caregivers really know or even have a clue on what it takes to ensure an elderly person’s dental health remains at its optimum? Truth is, it is never too late for anyone to start taking care of their teeth. So if you are a caregiver, be keen on how well the old people under your care observe their oral health. Read on to learn more.

Dry Mouth

It is one of the most common dental conditions among old people. In many cases, it crops up as a side effect of medication for diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases. It occurs when the salivary glands fail to secrete enough saliva. This makes it hard for an old person to chew food and swallow. In severe cases, it makes talking a challenge. If left untreated, dry mouth can easily lead to gum disease and tooth decay.

Root Decay

In old people, cavities tend to appear more frequently at the gum line more than they appear at the edge of fillings. That explains why seniors experience tooth decay at the root. This puts their teeth at great risk. It is even worse for seniors living with diabetes and bone related conditions. The best a caregiver can do here is to ensure a senior gets timely medical check-up.

Gum Disease

It stands out as one of the most common dental diseases among seniors. It is solely caused by plaque build-up which easily leads to inflammation, pain and bleeding if left untreated. It can also lead to difficulty in chewing and even loss of the affected teeth. Just like it is the case with root decay, gum disease brings about more complications for seniors living with diabetes. Again, the best solution here is to take preventive measures and have a senior go for routine dental check-up.

Dental Care For Seniors

Maintaining oral health for seniors at home is simple. Note though that cleaning has to be regular so as to prevent tooth decay and related complications. When it comes to seniors, it is essential for them to thoroughly but gently brush their natural teeth twice a day at the very least. This should be done using a soft bristled toothbrush as well as fluoride based toothpaste. Brush gently in circular motions as you reach the gums and the tongue. Note that tooth sensitivity is common in seniors. For this reason alone, use sensitive toothpaste.


It is possible for old people to floss too. As a matter of fact, dentists recommend it. Have the senior person under your care floss their teeth at least once a day. This should be enough to get rid of food debris that can easily cause gum disease. If regular floss proves too difficult, opt for a single use one handed flossing kit. Then remember to replace your senior’s toothbrush every three to four months.

Point To Note

Lifestyle habits contribute to oral health more than many people realize. With that said, increase calcium intake for your aging loved one. Then reduce high sugar foods and drinks which have been proven to cause cavities. Lastly, incorporate use of mouth wash as part of dental care for the old person under your care.

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