Oral Health for Older Adults

June 4, 2021

Keeping good oral hygiene habits is important at any age. As we get older, regular visits to the dentist remain necessary, particularly since changes to our health status can often affect our oral health. One study found that older adults with certain chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, are more at risk for tooth loss. The American Dental Association also notes that many prescription medications taken for these conditions can impact our teeth and gums. On the flip side, taking proper care of your mouth as you age can help prevent a number of problems — including cavities, gum disease and oral cancer — and keep your immune system from becoming overburdened.

Here are a few ways your dentist can help you maintain a healthy smile as you age.

Preventative Care

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 68% of adults aged 65 and older have gum disease, and one in five have untreated tooth decay. One of the reasons may be the prevalence of dry mouth among older adults, often caused by medications for certain chronic diseases, which can increase the risk of cavities. Your dental team can help by providing regular cleanings and advising you on the best ways to treat dry mouth.

Oral Cancer Screenings

According to mouthhealthy.org, a website of the American Dental Association, the average age of oral cancer diagnosis is 62. During your regular dental visit, your clinician can check for abnormal cells or lesions in the oral cavity that might warrant further evaluation. Detecting oral cancer early through regular screenings can go a long way toward successful treatment.

Dentures

Many older adults have lost some or all of their teeth, which can make it difficult to eat and speak. Dentures are removable, artificial teeth and gums used to replace missing teeth. Our denture specialists can help you get a beautiful, natural-looking set of dentures that fit comfortably. With proper care, dentures can last several years. 

Dental Implants

Unlike dentures, dental implants are a non-removable, long-term replacement for missing teeth. Dental implants are designed to make replacement teeth look, feel and function like natural teeth. The dental implant itself is a small titanium post that is surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as the support to prosthetic teeth, securing them firmly like a natural tooth. You can brush and floss them just as you would natural teeth. 

Dental Coverage for Older Adults

With about half of adults between the ages of 65 and 80 reporting that they do not have dental coverage, going to the dentist can be a challenge as you grow older. For those without insurance, our Smiles360 Dental Savings Club may be an option for you. With an annual fee starting at just $269, Smiles360 members receive preventative dental services at no additional cost, with generous discounts on a variety of treatments. 

We are committed to being your partner in oral health at any age. With flexible payment options, a variety of services and a friendly team, we look forward to keeping you smiling. Make an appointment today!

Gentle Dentist is a part of Mortenson Dental Partners.

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