Senior Dental Care FAQs
Geriatric Oral Health Advice from a Dentist
As we age, we may develop new oral health concerns. Awareness of the increased risk of potential problems is the first step to protecting your teeth, followed by a renewed focus on oral health care and maintaining regular dental care.
Does dental health worsen with age?
Yes, just as overall health can deteriorate with age, your oral health is more likely to decline. Many seniors develop cognitive, physical, or sensory limitations that make home dental care more complex, resulting in gum disease or tooth decay. Other conditions potentially associated with aging include tooth decay, periodontitis, oral cancer, and dry mouth due to medications also known as xerostomia.
How do you care for your mouth with missing teeth?
Continue brushing twice a day, brushing your gums and tongue with a soft-bristle toothbrush and toothpaste. A dental rinse is also very helpful for the soft tissues such as Listerine Gum Care.
Do you have to clean dentures?
Yes! It is imperative to care for your dentures, they accumulate food debris, plaque, stains, and bacteria just like your natural teeth. If you do not clean them properly, you can develop gum inflammation, infections, and discoloration of your dentures. If you wear partial dentures, ignoring their cleaning can result in additional tooth loss. Visit our Denture Care page to learn more about how to care for your dentures.
Why is my mouth always dry?
While a dry mouth can result from an oral health problem, it is more often the result of taking certain medications that inhibit saliva production. Talk to your doctor to learn whether your medications may be causing your dry mouth. Diseases that may contribute to severe dry mouth include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and diabetes. The best product on the market for xerostomia is Biotene, an oral rinse to combat dry mouth, and remember to stay hydrated during the day. Biotene is available in a rinse form or as a soothing gel pouch.
How can seniors with motor function issues brush their teeth?
Caregivers or loved ones can demonstrate proper brushing, assist them when brushing, or take over brushing their loved one’s teeth. If brushing is difficult for seniors due to physical limitations, an electric toothbrush and water flosser such as Waterpik can help. We generally recommend a Sonicare or Oral-B electric toothbrush which are both approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). All caregivers must understand the importance of daily dental care for seniors with cognitive limitations who are likely to neglect and forget oral care.
Twice-yearly exams and dental cleanings are recommended for elderly patients. We specialize in geriatric dental care for the elderly and Dr. Forcioli has done additional training to treat specific dental pathophysiology associated with aging. To schedule an appointment for you or an elderly loved one, contact our office at Lombard Office Phone Number 630-627-1495.