Dental health problems may increase in old age.

Years of wear and tear can affect your teeth and gums.

However, it does not mean that you are bound to lose teeth as you age.

Over the years if you have taken good care of your oral health then you are not prone to losing them.

It is important to take care of your oral health as the mouth is the gateway for nutrition that supports your entire body.

Even if you have been careless, you can get better now!

Make use of the recommendations below to know how you can prevent tooth loss and other oral health problems in old age.

dental issues in old age

Dental Problems in Old Age

Gum Disease 

Any medical condition is not limited to age.

However, the risk of certain diseases definitely increases with age.

You become more susceptible to getting gum disease over the years.

Therefore, as you grow older, your oral care routine should become more extensive in order to more keenly monitor and maintain your hygiene.

Oral Cancer

As you grow wiser with age, your lifestyle changes too.

These lifestyle factors such as smoking can put you at a greater risk of getting oral cancer when you are older.

Therefore, getting oral cancer is related to your age and how you live your life.

Hence, you need to visit the dentist more often and get screenings for cancer as you grow older.

Tooth Decay and Cavities 

Unlike gum disease and oral cancer, the risk of decay is highest in infants and teens.

There is a lesser risk as you grow older and the new adult dentition comes in.

Though, if you do not take care of your oral health then you are still at risk of getting decay any time.

That said, with age, you become more prone to root caries.

Lesions form on the surface of teeth under the cover of gums.

Moreover, prior dental restorations that are neglected and not replaced are also at risk of getting decay.

Other than that, medical conditions and medications that reduce salivary production inside the mouth can also cause root decay.

This results in a dry mouth.

Decay is only one of the consequences of dry mouth.

Let’s find about other consequences of the condition below!

medical issues

How Do Medical Conditions Affect Oral Health in Old Age?

A dry mouth basically results from less salivary flow inside your mouth.

This is more common in the elderly because of medical conditions and medications.

Certain medications like that for blood pressure can lessen the salivary flow. More on that later!

This does not remineralize your enamel after they are exposed to bacteria and food particles.

Besides minerals, saliva contains immune cells.

It protects your teeth and overall youth from infection.

When you lack saliva in a dry mouth, you are more at risk of dental health problems.

If you have a diagnosed dry mouth then you can resort to alternatives such as chewing gum or a salivary stimulant to regulate its flow.

It is also important to drink water in order to keep your moth moist and stimulate saliva.

Moreover, refraining from what is harmful is equally important.

Avoid habits that produce a short term lack of saliva.

These include, eating carbohydrates, sucking on lollies and consuming acidic foods and drinks.

Unfortunately these habits alongside a dry mouth will exacerbate the damage to your teeth.

Existing medical conditions can also worsen an elderly’s oral health and vice versa.

There is a link between heart disease and gum disease plus other oral health problems.

In fact, a serious case of gum disease can even result in a heart attack.

Cancer and chemotherapy can also affect your mouth’s ecology.

Moreover, Type 2 diabetes in the elderly can cause oral health problems.

This is also because of a weak immune system.

Before you begin any treatment your dentist, let them know about any medical condition you face.

They will keep that in account while diagnosing and treating your condition.

Along with medical conditions, medications are also responsible for causing problems in your mouth.

Which ones are those? Let’s find out below!

medication problems

Effects of Medication

A few medications can impact your oral health but the elderly are usually taking many at once.

The most common side effect of certain medications is a dry mouth.

Since it reduces saliva, it can make you susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease.

The drugs that can cause a dry mouth and other oral health problems include:

  • Medication for Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s medication reduces salivary flow in your mouth.

Thus your teeth are exposed to bacteria and debris that can erode the enamel.

  • Bisphosphonates

These drugs are mainly taken to slow down bone loss.

The mouth’s bone turnover is impacted by the use of bisphosphonates.

Hence, it can complicate your mouth’s ecology leading to osteoradionecrosis.

This can occur right after a tooth extraction procedure.

  • Anti-depressants

Anti-depressants reduce the salivary flow by impacting the production of saliva from the salivary glands.

Or they can reduce the flow by lowering the neural cells’ reaction.

Hence, elderly or even youngsters taking anti-depressants are put at a greater risk of root decay.

Though, a lack of saliva also results in tooth decay and cavities.

  • Antihypertensive drugs

The medicines used to lower high blood pressure impact the salivary flow.

While some may not lessen your saliva but still make your mouth feel parched by giving a sensation of dry mouth.

Other than that medicines that regulate blood sugar levels may also have an impact.

Thus, frequent visits to your dentist will inform you of risks before getting the oral condition.

People in old age may also face problems with their gums through the years such as gum disease.

gum problems in old age

Problems with The Gum

As your age increases, the risk of developing gum disease increases.

You may also face the usual problem of receding gums with increasing age.

As your gums recede the root surface exposes.

This area does not have any enamel, therefore tooth sensitivity increases.

Cold and hot sensations become more pronounced.

Though the sensitivity can also result from decay and tooth damage.

Aso, the roots of your teeth are at a greater risk now for decay and plaque accumulation.

Since there is no enamel, there is no protection.

Thus you may want to use toothpaste that is specially designed to deal with sensitivity as well as provide enamel protection like fluoride toothpaste.

Overall you need to keep up with a good oral routine and visit the dentist often.

Thus, if you want to age gracefully, you would like to smile to your heart’s content with good teeth.

In order for that to happen, you will have to maintain it even if you are an elderly person.

brushing in old age

Oral Health Care in Old Age

Should you forsake oral care when you age? Not at all!

This is one thing you should always take care of to eat well and live well.

Hence, here we discuss the basics that you should never ignore no matter what is your age.

Brushing and Flossing Regularly

If you are eating and drinking all day, you are risking your teeth to cavities.

Brushing and flossing are absolutely necessary no matter how old you are.

It will help to keep the bacteria at bay and reduce your chances of getting gum disease for which you are in a higher risk category.

Therefore, brush twice and floss once a day without missing any day.

Use Gadgets and Tools to Your Advantage 

If you suffer from dexterity issues then use modern technology to assist you in maintaining good oral hygiene.

Two useful dental tools are:

  • Electric Toothbrush
  • Water Flosser

An electric toothbrush is great for people with dexterity issues.

Its rotating and oscillating head can clean your teeth thoroughly without you having to move them.

Plus other features such as pressure sensors and built-in timers make brushing teeth more efficient and easier.

Similarly, a water flosser can reach areas where your hands cannot with traditional floss.

Thus you are able to maneuver it throughout your mouth with ease and accuracy.

Maintain Prior Dental Work

All dental works such as implants, fillings and crowns have a life span that you should be aware of.

You need to take special care so that they last longer.

For instance, if you wear dentures, keep them clean and follow up regularly with your dentist.

This can increase their longevity.

Plus, report to your doctor whenever you feel soreness, any discomfort or bad breath from wearing them.

Bi-annual dental visits should be regular too.

healthy teeth

Taking Care of Teeth Through Diet

Eat Foods that Boost Your Immunity 

Eating well will not only help you live better but also keep your mouth healthy.

The bad bacteria in your mouth need to be rebalanced with the good by eating fermented food.

Therefore, include the likes of cultured yogurt, butter, sauerkraut, miso and fermented cheese in your diet.

Also, eat foods that will boost your immunity.

A stronger immune system will prevent you from getting diseases and infections, not only in your mouth but your entire body.

Hence, eat garlic, leafy greens and coconut oil.

Plus, taking a walk in the outdoors to get your intake of Vitamin D3 is great for boosting immunity.

Do Not Smoke! 

If you already smoke then it is high time you quit.

It lowers immunity and oxygen supply in the blood.

Thus it increases the existing damage to oral tissues and your teeth.

Smoking can lead to oral cancer and gum disease.

Therefore, by all means, it is problematic for your oral health.

Limit the Intake of Sweet and Starchy Foods

As you grow older you should not be neglecting oral care rather caring for it more.

Sugary and starchy foods will erode your enamel making you more prone to decay.

Moreover, these foods are generally unhealthy hence, you should limit their intake.


In old age you want your teeth to last longer and have fewer oral health problems.

Visiting your dentist regularly can help you figure out any problems in the early stages.

Delaying will only result in permanent damage.

Thus, visit your dentist as regularly as possible and while you wait, keep following a good hygiene routine.