Dental care for older people is much the same as for younger adults.
But older adults do have concerns that younger adults do not. These include
caring for dentures, having trouble holding a toothbrush, having gum disease,
having tooth decay on the roots of teeth, and replacing missing teeth and
Dentures are "false teeth." They can replace all the teeth in your
mouth (complete denture) or only some of them (partial denture). If you need
dentures, your dentist will measure your mouth and take impressions to create
You should care for your dentures as you would your teeth. It's
also important to continue to care for your gums. Brush your gums, tongue, and
the roof of your mouth (palate) every day with a soft-bristled brush before you
put in your dentures. Continue to see your dentist on a regular basis.
To care for your dentures:
To care for your teeth and gums:
Older adults with
arthritis sometimes have trouble brushing their teeth
because they cannot easily hold the toothbrush. Their hands and fingers may be
stiff, painful, or weak. If this is the case, you can:
You may also be able to buy specially designed toothbrushes,
toothpaste dispensers, and floss holders.
To keep your teeth and gums healthy:
Many older adults have a fixed income and feel that they cannot
afford dental care. But most towns and cities have programs in which dentists
assist older adults by reducing fees. Contact your area's public health offices
or social services for information about dental care in your community.
January 7, 2013
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Arden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
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