Dental Care for the Aging: Maintaining Oral Health for Seniors

Our dental health plays a significant role in our daily lives. It keeps our body healthy through the consumption of food and other nutrients. As human beings, there are no other means for us to consume the nutrients we need aside from our mouths. This means that if our dental health is jeopardized, there’s a likely chance that we can fall desperately ill.

Dental health deterioration comes with age. Those who have reached seniority are highly likely to develop severe dental illnesses. However, this can be highly avoidable if you are only equipped with the proper knowledge to avoid it. First, we must talk about the most common oral health problems that seniors experience.

Common Oral Health Problems for Seniors

Patient before prophylactic treatment, dirty brown teeth

Darkened Teeth

Darkened teeth are one of the most common health problems for seniors. Many think that this is primarily a cosmetic problem. However, the reality is that darkened teeth show an underlying problem with a person’s oral health.

Darkened teeth are primarily caused by years of poor oral health. However, it could also be because of years of smoking, drinking, and consuming unhealthy foods such as meals from fast-food joints. Moreover, soft drinks play a significant role in darkened teeth.

Essentially, darkened teeth are caused by the thinning of our teeth’ protective layer, the enamel. Once the first layer of enamel has fully thinned out, the yellowish part of our teeth shows through. Darkened teeth can also be accompanied by extreme pain in that given area of the mouth.

Tooth Decay

Millions of adult Americans experience tooth decay at least once or twice in their lives. It’s an all-too-common problem in the US. However, seniors are more susceptible to this decay.

Tooth decay can be a severe problem in one’s oral health. It can lead to the extraction of one or multiple teeth, which can be detrimental to a person’s consumption of nutrients. Once again, tooth decay is caused by the unhealthy consumption of nicotine, alcohol, sweets, and meals from fast-food joints.


Periodontitis or gum infection is the most problematic oral disease that seniors can experience. It can easily lead to tooth loss and, in worse-case scenarios, oral cancer.

Gum infection affects many American adults, but seniors are more susceptible to such a disease. There are many reasons for periodontitis. Vices contribute a lot to this disease, and an unhealthy diet can also contribute to it. However, it can also be caused by improper installation of dentures. It can also lead to other diseases such as diabetes and anemia.

When left untreated, periodontitis can cause root decay. Root decay can then cause oral cancer. If a senior in your home is experiencing pain in the gums and swollen or receding gums, it’s vital that you bring them to a dental clinic immediately. This will help you identify the underlying cause of such a disease and get it treated immediately.

Taking Care of a Senior’s Oral Health

dental treatment

Brushing Regularly

The foundation of a person’s good dental health depends on how much they brush. Dental professionals suggest that a person brushes two to three times a day. You mustn’t do over-brush (brushing more than three times a day). Over-brushing can cause your enamel to wear down, which can then cause darkened teeth and tooth decay.

Avoid Vices and Unhealthy Diets

Younger Americans may afford to consume alcohol and tobacco on a weekly basis. They can also choose to consume soft drinks and fast food regularly. However, seniors are required to avoid these options entirely.

Their teeth and gums have already experienced many years of use, which leaves them susceptible to the damages that these things cause. If you want to have healthy teeth of gums by the time you reach 80, you should remove vices and unhealthy diets from your system.

Dental Care After Retirement

Not many companies offer a dental care package to their employees, and there are even fewer companies that offer dental care packages after an employee’s retirement. However, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) provides such packages. These packages can drastically reduce dental operation, making them more affordable to seniors.

Moreover, the National Association of Dental plans also offers dental health insurance. This insurance can reduce dental operations by a staggering 60%. When combined with the AARP’s dental health package, seniors can afford all sorts of dental treatment they need.

Seniors should be doubly cautious about what they consume. They should also be aware of the pain they feel from their mouths. All oral diseases can be avoided with treatment from the dentist and a proper diet.

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