Home » Health » The Importance Of Oral Health For Older Adults

As the old adage says, with age comes wisdom. And as we all grow old, certain health concerns earn our entire attention. One of these concerns is the importance of dental health for seniors. We all only get 1 set of teeth that are permanent, so it is crucial to take care of them for our whole lives.

As stated by the Washington Dental Service Foundation (WDSF), approximately 75 percent of adults 60 and older just have a portion of their first teeth. It stands to reason that issues like severe gum disease, which is normal in roughly 23 percent of seniors between the ages of 65 to 74, may contribute to the loss of your natural teeth. Risks for conditions such as heart disease and diabetes increase with poor oral health too.

Oral disease, teeth that are sensitive, diabetes and dry skin are merely some of the ailments that highlight the importance of oral health in older adults. Let us take a look at these in a bit more detail.


Gum Disease

This results when the gum tissues surrounding teeth become infected due to a buildup of plaque around the teeth and gums, according to the American Dental Association (ADA) website. Gum disease is an issue for older adults for a range of reasons such as plaque building up on teeth and gums from years of consuming a bad diet rather than developing appropriate oral healthcare habits earlier in your life. With the correct treatment — such as a visit to a dentist — gingivitis is reversible.


Sooner or later, we have all chucked a nice, cold glass of water simply to grimace at the sharp, tingling sensation in our teeth. A range of factors cause tooth sensitivity, such as cavities, gum disease and worn tooth enamel. Good brushing and using a toothpaste such as Colgate Sensitive Prevent & Repair will slowly exude that sensitivity.



Diabetes occurs when your body’s blood glucose exceeds normal levels, according to the American Diabetes Association. There are two types of diabetes — Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. The latter is far more common, and generally occurs in older adults because of a bad or worsening diet. Type 1 is found in children and young adults. People who have diabetes are at much greater risk for gum disease, thrush (leading from a parasite that grows in the mouth) and dry mouth.

A lack of saliva in the mouth results in the condition called dry mouth. It’s usually caused by drugs taken for other medical issues, which is becoming more widespread as you get older. The biggest concern related to dry mouth is root and tooth decay, both of which can lead to diseases and tooth loss.

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Oral Health Tips

Just because individuals are more prone to oral health issues with age does not mean that you must experience them. The WDSF provides some advice on how to keep your mouth in great health. Here a few important tips:

Maintain regular dental visits. Even if you’re a denture wearer, obtaining your teeth assessed is still significant.

Do not forget to brush twice daily, and use toothpaste which contains fluoride.

After you brush, floss. Cleaning between your teeth guarantees healthy teeth and gums.

Monitor your glucose intake from soda and candy, and watch out for starch-filled snacks. Brush soon after snacking.

Don’t use tobacco, and drink fluoridated water.

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