As we age, our bodies require more care to maintain than they did when we were younger. The
same is also true for our oral cavity—this is because our risk for oral cancers and gum disease
increases as we age.
Fortunately, taking care of our smiles as we go through life and enter our golden years isn’t all
that different from our regular oral care routine, with a few exceptions. Here are our top oral
care tips for seniors!
Seniors have an increased risk for dry mouth. This is because many medications can cause dry
mouth, including those for high blood pressure and even allergies. In addition, our salivary
glands may not produce as much saliva as we age, leading to a sticky feeling in our mouths.
This is why it’s essential to stay hydrated as we get older. We can do this by being aware of our
caffeine consumption—drinks such as coffee, tea, and cola can cause us to become dehydrated.
Alcohol can also severely dry out the mouth, although it doesn’t contain caffeine.
The most important thing you can do is drink more water. Sipping on water throughout the day
can prevent dry mouth and dehydration. If dry mouth is a chronic problem for you despite your
daily fluid intake, talk with your doctor as you may need to switch medications or there may be
another health issue to blame.
Schedule Regular Checkups
Regular checkups with your dentist can prevent a host of oral health problems. Your dentist is
specially trained to spot cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer early. By keeping your dental
appointments every 6-12 months, you can prevent many oral health problems.
Since everyone is different, your dentist may suggest you come more or less often. If your teeth
and gums are in excellent shape and have been for a while, a yearly visit may suffice. However,
if your teeth are prone to problems or if you smoke, your dentist may recommend coming more
Eating well is important to everyone’s oral health, not just seniors. By saying no to refined
flours and starches such as white bread and potato chips and simple sugars such as baked
goods, we can help our smiles to be healthier.
Important foods to focus on include healthy fats such as those found in nuts, oils, and
avocadoes, as well as lean protein and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. By eating the right
foods, seniors can reduce their risk of tooth decay as they age!
Brush and Floss
Of course, continuing to care for your teeth as you age is essential. With Americans losing an
average of 12 teeth by age 50 and 26% of Americans losing all their teeth by age 74, it’s more
important than ever to care for your smile.
You can do this by daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque and bacteria to keep your smile
strong and healthy. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush can help you be as gentle as possible with
your smile while still keeping it clean. Your dentist can supplement your care routine to create a
As we age, it’s important to take care of ourselves. The oral cavity is no exception, requiring
some additional care as we age. By staying hydrated, visiting your dentist, and employing
regular care habits such as brushing and flossing, you can enjoy a beautiful smile well into old