The Importance of Oral Health for Seniors - 24|7 Nursing Care

The Importance of Oral Health for Seniors

We all know that staying as healthy as possible as we age is very important. No one wants to spend time the importance of oral health for seniorsin the hospital or nursing home, and everyone wants to remain at home as long as possible. Though we all know it’s best to maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise throughout our lives, one topic that may be overlooked more often is oral health. Especially with older adults, it’s important to be paying attention to what is happening in your mouth to avoid any serious complications with your health.
Dental fear is not uncommon nowadays, you can contact for expert treatment. When it comes to overall wellbeing, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the importance of oral health for seniors.

Oral Health Statistics 

According to Seniors Oral Health, these are some of the numbers when it comes to unhealthy mouths. 

  • About 75 percent of people ages 60+ have only some of their natural teeth. 
  • Nearly 23 percent of adults ages 65-74 have severe gum disease. 

Additionally, around 30% of older adults have an issue with dry mouth, or a lack of saliva in the mouth, which can lead to issues such as tooth decay and gum disease. When these issues get to a point where they are causing major pain or life disruption, many seniors may even end up in the emergency room, causing high medical costs and time spent away from family and enjoying life.

Oral Health Diseases and Complications

Sensitive Teeth 

Maybe you’ve had an experience with sensitive teeth or that tingling sensation that occurs on your teeth when you drink a glass of something cold. This is a common problem, but one that may indicate that there is a more serious issue occurring in the mouth. Sensitive teeth could mean that the person has a cavity, gum disease, or worn tooth enamel. Those who experience sensitive teeth can try and treat it with a toothpaste that is made especially for this condition, or by visiting a dentist and speaking with a professional about the causes of sensitive teeth. It’s important to catch any serious conditions that may be causing teeth to be sensitive before it becomes a health concern. 

Gum Disease 

Gum disease can be a scary condition that can also cause a lot of pain in someone’s mouth. There are various degrees of gum disease, but like any other infection, it’s best to catch it early and treat it as soon as possible. Symptoms of gum disease can be swollen red gums or bleeding from the gums. Usually, the gums become infected due to a buildup of plaque on the teeth and gums as a result of a poor diet and lack of proper oral care. 

There are stages of gum disease. The first is called Gingivitis, and it is characterized by those swollen, red, bleeding gums. Once someone believes they may have Gingivitis, they should contact a dentist and get treatment. This condition is reversible with proper treatment. 

If left untreated, gum disease can progress to periodontitis. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), periodontitis affects 47.2% of adults over 30 in the U.S. It can cause the loss of tissue and bone that support the teeth, so it must be treated as quickly as possible. It can be a progressive condition with periods where it can rapidly deteriorate your mouth, causing loose teeth. Though there are still studies being conducted, the ADA states that there may be a link between serious gum disease and other adverse health conditions such as diabetes and stroke. Therefore, seniors need to take care of gum disease at the first sign. 

Dry Mouth 

Dry Mouth is a common condition in seniors and is characterized by a lack of saliva in the mouth. Unfortunately, this can be caused by certain medications that are required to take care of other health conditions. Dry mouth can cause tooth and root decay as well as other infections and tooth loss. In order to help combat dry mouth, make sure you are staying hydrated by drinking lots of water, but also avoiding caffeine and alcohol or other dehydrating fluids. Sugar can also dehydrate you and is not good for your overall oral health, so try avoiding sugary foods or candies, and stick with foods and candies that are sugar-free. 

Preventing Diseases & Maintaining a Healthy Mouth 

Oral health has been linked to overall health, so maintaining a healthy mouth can lead to maintaining a healthier body overall. One of the easiest ways to do that is to just remember to brush your teeth twice a day and after meals that contain a lot of sugar, especially if you are prone to gum disease. If you are the caregiver of an older adult, it may not be easy to get them to always brush their teeth, but it should be a priority each morning and night. 

Flossing is also important and should be a part of the overall oral health regime. If it’s too hard to get your loved one to use a roll of floss, you can also look into floss sticks that have a handle for easy use. 

Monitoring sugar intake is a good idea for overall health and prevention of lifestyle-related diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, but it is also a good idea when considering oral health. As we stated, sugar can add to dehydration and dry mouth, and it can also be linked as a cause of plaque buildup and gum disease. Especially with older adults, sugar intake should be closely monitored. 

As with any other health condition, it’s always best to contact a medical professional, in this case, a dentist, to advise on health-related issues when it comes to your mouth. Setting up regular visits to the dentist for cleanings and check-ups is another way that you can monitor the oral health of your loved one. 

If you are a family caregiver and feeling overwhelmed by the daily medical duties of caregiving, contact us at 24/7 Nursing Care to learn more about our in-home nursing care options. We are happy to serve you and believe in the importance of oral health for seniors, too. Give us a call at (855) 687 – 7344. 



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Importance of Oral Health for Older Adults: Colgate® Oral Care. (n.d.). Retrieved from