Oral Hygiene Tips for Senior Adults

Adults over 65 should practice extra precautions to protect their smiles. Teeth experience tremendous wear with each passing year. The older you are, the more you need to fortify your aged smile. These oral hygiene tips for senior adults will help you keep your smile in optimal shape.

Oral Health Concerns for Adults over 65

Adults over 65 are expected to represent 24% of the U.S. population by 2060. Limited mobility, insufficient access to transportation, low income, and other factors increase oral health risks for many seniors. Here are some of the most common oral health concerns for adults over 65:

  • Tooth decay and tooth loss – Approximately 1 in 5 seniors have lost all their teeth, and the same number of seniors have untreated tooth decay.
  • Oral cancer – The median age for an oral cancer diagnosis in the U.S. is 62 years old.
  • Gum disease – A staggering 68% of adults over 65 have gum disease, and those statistics increase among adults with heart diseases, arthritis, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Dry mouth – This is typically the result of medications older adults take. Dry mouth is uncomfortable and often results in bad breath.
  • Replacements for past oral care treatments – Every smile solution has a limited lifespan, including crowns, bridges, fillings, and dentures. Many older adults need replacements for older fixtures.

The oral hygiene tips below can reduce your risk of these issues, but they may not prevent them entirely. Prepare for the possibilities so you can protect your smile for years to come.

The Perfect Daily Oral Hygiene Routine

Daily oral hygiene is crucial to protecting your smile. We recommend brushing twice and flossing once daily. You may need special care for certain elements of your smile as your needs adjust. For instance, removable dentures require different cleaning techniques than natural teeth. If you have a crown or bridge, you should be able to brush and floss as normal.

Monitor Changes in Your Smile

Early intervention is always the best practice for preserving your smile. Notify your dentist when you notice any changes, such as increased sensitivity or pain. A small filling now could prevent you from needing a crown or root canal in the future. A round of antibiotics could cure an oral infection before it wreaks havoc on your smile. Transparent communication can save you from future discomfort.

How Often Should Senior Adults See the Dentist?

Most adults should visit the dentist at least once per year. We recommend getting a teeth cleaning and oral exam every six months when possible. Most dental insurance plans cover twice-yearly teeth cleaning, but that is not always the case. Learn more: What Dental Insurance Does and Does Not Cover

You should still see the dentist if you have dentures. Your dentist will want to inspect your gums and dentures to address any issues that arise. This will give you a heads-up about future oral care you may need so you can prepare for the road ahead.

Clinton Dental Center offers quality dental care for senior adults, children, teens, and everyone in between. Contact us at (586) 949-5363 to schedule an appointment at our Chesterfield MI dentist’s office.