Oral health directly affects overall health and quality of life. In fact, dental disease is a common cause of medical and emergency room visits, according to the American Dental Association. Medications and common chronic illnesses in older adults, such as diabetes or heart disease, put seniors at an increased risk for dental problems.
Yet, access to senior dental care continues to be a problem in the U.S. Dental care benefits cease upon retirement and routine dental care is not covered by Medicare. Lack of transportation, age-related memory loss, other cognitive problems, and physical disabilities may also lead to missed dentist appointments and poor dental health for seniors.
Good senior dental care may help prevent common problems, like toothaches, gum disease, and tooth loss. Healthy teeth also help older adults enjoy food and eat better. Learn why it’s important to make dental health for seniors a priority and how to help your elderly loved one improve their oral health.
There are some steps you can take to help an elderly loved one maintain good dental health:
Our free tool provides options, advice, and next steps based on your unique situation.
Poor dental health and hygiene could be signs your loved one needs help with activities of daily living. Consider whether it’s time for assisted living, where staff are able to assist with grooming, dressing, medication management, and more, while providing many opportunities for social activities and engagement.
American Dental Association. “Oral health topics.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Oral health for older Americans.” https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/basics/adult-oral-health/adult_older.htm.
Our advisors help 300,000 families each year find the right senior care for their loved ones.
National Institute on Aging. “Taking care of your teeth and mouth.”
Kanzigg LA, Hunt L. “Oral health and hospital-acquired pneumonia in elderly patients: a review of the literature.”
The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal or financial advice or create a professional relationship between A Place for Mom and the reader. Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter, and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site. Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; A Place for Mom does not endorse the contents of the third-party sites.
Make the best senior care decision