The Importance of Oral Health for Older Patients

Richview Family Dentistry wants you to know that there are special considerations and precautions to be made for your oral health, especially if you’re over 65

There are several factors that lead to special precautions for adults, especially those over the age of 65:

  • An aging patient’s health can be complicated by comorbid conditions
    • Hypertension
    • Diabetes
    • Physiologic changes associated with aging
  • Dental conditions associated with aging include

*A number of factors can cause dry mouth, including many medications. This can be detrimental, as saliva helps you eat and talk. Saliva also carries minerals that keep teeth strong.

  • To combat the effects of dry mouth:
    • Take small sips of water throughout the day
    • Suck on sugar-free lozenges
    • Avoid alcohol and tobacco

According to data from NHANES, 39% of people aged 65 years and older reported using 5 or more prescription drugs.

Drugs most commonly prescribed in elderly patients include:

  • “Statin” drugs for hypercholesterolemia
  • Antihypertensive agents
  • Drugs for endocrine dysfunction
  • And some OTC medications like laxatives and vitamins

Patients with physical limitations

  • Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis can affect a person’s ability to maintain good quality home oral care.
  • Modification of manual toothbrush handles or the use of electronic toothbrushes can help accommodate for lost mobility.
  • Increasing the frequency of dental cleanings and examinations can help promote optimal maintenance of oral hygiene.

The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) suggests seeing your dentist regularly so they can check for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, poorly fitting dentures, and oral cancer, especially for those patients who are over 65 years of age.

If it’s been a while since your last check-up or if you’re new to the area and looking for a family dentist, give us a call today at (931) 647-2243. We love new patients at Richview Family Dentistry!