Oral Health in the Elderly – FAQ’s

The following are some answers to commonly asked questions about senior oral health.

Is it a certainty that as we age we lose our teeth?

Absolutely not. It is possible to keep your teeth for your entire life, with proper care. Consistent and frequent visits to the dentist can prevent and treat gum disease and/or tooth decay, helping you keep your teeth as long as you live.

What causes gum disease and should I be worried about it?

Gum disease is caused by bacteria, which builds up around the teeth and gums, causing ‘plaque.’ Plaque is constantly forming on the teeth, and thus must be removed regularly in order to avoid gum inflammation. If the plaque is not removed, over time gum disease will harm the bone under the gums. Weak gums can lead to lose teeth.

How can I tell if I have gum disease?

Gum disease is often painless but there are some signs that can signal the development of gum disease:

  • Gums that bleed when brushed
  • Loose teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Bad breath

Not everyone has all these signs. Just one of these symptoms can be a signal that gum disease is present.

Is there a way I can prevent getting gum disease?

Yes definitely! Follow these tips below:

  • Carefully and thoroughly remove plaque from your teeth (and dentures if you have) every night before going to sleep, and at least once more during the day.
  • Use toothpaste that contains fluoride.
  • Clean between your teeth at least one time each day using dental floss or interdental brushes.
  • Eat less sugary foods, especially the sticky kind like boiled sweets or mints.
  • Make regular visits to your dentist according to their recommendation.