Maintaining Oral Health as a Senior Adult

Posted on December 15, 2023 8:00 am

Ageing is an inevitable part of life and can affect oral health. Below are some age-related oral health risks.

Gum disease is caused by plaque and can worsen with tobacco, ill-fitting bridges and dentures, food residue in teeth, and certain diseases like anemia and diabetes–which are common problems for senior adults.

Root decay is the result of the tooth root being exposed to acids as gum tissues begin to recede from the tooth. Unlike teeth, roots do not have any enamel to protect them from decay.

Darkened teeth areusually caused by a lifetime of consuming foods and beverages that stain–like tomato sauce, wine, et cetera. Otherwise, the natural thinning of the outer enamel layer can expose the dentin, which is darker and yellower. A darkened tooth or teeth should be checked by a professional as it can be a sign of a more serious problem.

Uneven jawbone. Missing teeth in the mouth enable the rest of the teeth to drift and shift around into open spaces in the gums, sometimes causing the jawbone to be lopsided.

Apart from that, certain age-related medical conditions like arthritis may make brushing teeth difficult to perform. Certain drugs can greatly affect oral health, too, like dry mouth and thrushes.

To make matters more concerning, poor oral health can have an impact on social life when insecurities about one’s smile can make them feel less attractive and less likely to socialize; increasing their tendency to isolate.

Oral hygiene tips for senior adults

When it comes to caring for your teeth and gums as an ageing adult, prevention is the best medicine. While dental treatments can be costly, investing in optimum dental care and upkeep is ideal to maintain good oral health. Here are some basic yet crucial steps to follow in your routine;

  1. Rinse.  Before you brush or floss, rinse with plain water to remove any food particles stuck between your teeth and gums.
  2. Brush your teeth at least twice a dayfor no less than two minutes each time.If you are dealing with arthritis, opt for an electrical toothbrush to get more strokes. Choose a toothpaste with safe yet effective levels of fluoride. Oradex’s Periodontal Toothpaste contains decay- and plaque-fighting fluorides and is suitable for daily use, while Oradex Antibacterial Gel Toothpaste is incredibly gentle and suitable for those with sensitive teeth and gums. Explore our range of toothpaste here. 
  3. Use a mouthwash. Choose Oradex’s therapeutic, alcohol-free Everyday Antiseptic Mouthwash to effectively control plaque, gingivitis, disease-causing germs, and cavities in the long term. Find the product here.
  4. Floss after a meal daily, if possible. Instead of sawing back and forth, begin at the gum line, and slide it up and down the tooth several times. This motion helps to clean the tooth better, without excessive friction that can irritate the gums. If you have difficulties flossing, opt for over-the-counter tools like threaded flossers and tiny brushes that can reach areas between the teeth.

Maintaining good oral health when you’re a senior adult can be challenging, especially with factors like arthritis and other age-related health conditions at play. With the right oral care products and routine, you can slow down the effects of ageing on your teeth and gums.


The Senior’s Guide to Dental Care | Harvard Health Publishing

Dental Care for Seniors | WebMD