Older Adults and Dental Care

October is National Dental Hygiene Month.  Before October ends, I want to mention a few things about older adults and dental care.  For the first time in our history older adults are aging with their own teeth.  75% of Americans still have their natural teeth at age 60.  This makes it even more imperative that older adults receive regular dental check-ups and maintain good oral hygiene.

The challenge is that many dentists are not trained in geriatric dentistry.  Also, many older Americans do not have dental insurance.  Often these benefits were lost when they retired.  But without maintaining oral health other issues arise due to the inability to chew healthy foods.

Maintaining oral health includes:

  • Drinking fluorinated water and brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Flossing daily.
  • Avoiding tobacco and limiting alcohol.
  • If medication is causing a dry mouth and your doctor cannot prescribe another medication, make sure to drink plenty of water and chew sugarless gum.
  • Go for regular dental check-up.

Healthy teeth are necessary for a healthy body.  With good habits at home older adults are able to keep their teeth for a lifetime.  Everyone, even older adults with dentures need an annual cancer screening.

Pam Miller,
Executive Director