• If some or all of the natural teeth have been lost, dentists can make removable dentures.
• Dental implants are a new option many older adults are choosing. Implants are surgically-fixed substitutes for missing tooth roots.
Cancer• Oral cancer is more common than you may think, and older adults may be at a greater risk.
• As with other cancers, early detection saves lives. Dentists are the most skilled at detecting oral cancer early as a part of every routine checkup.
• Open sores, white or reddish patches, and other changes in the lips, tongue and lining of the mouth may be signs of oral
cancer or other potentially serious diseases. Contact a dentist if any of these conditions last 14 days or longer.
Medication Side Effects• More than 400 prescription drugs have been linked to adverse dental health effects.
• Prescription medicines can cause gum swelling, overgrowth or inflammation, dry mouth, excess plaque, and fungal infection.
• Many prescription drugs cause or enhance dry mouth, which can increase the rate of root-surface decay and periodontal (gum) infection.
• Be sure to tell your dentist about all prescribed and over-the-counter medications you are taking.
Your Dental Routine• Brush teeth twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
• Replace toothbrushes every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed.
• Clean between teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner.
• Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams.
Denture Care• Take dentures out of the mouth for at least four hours every day. This will help rejuvenate gums after prolonged contact with dentures.
• It’s best to remove full or partial dentures at night.
• Denture cleaning products like denture cleansers and overnight soaking solutions help keep dentures fresh and clean.
• If dry mouth is present, talk to a dentist about ways to reduce symptoms and maintain good oral health, for example, using
an over the counter mouthwash or spray that can help moisten the mouth.
Elder CaretakersAre you an elder caretaker? For information about how to provide proper daily oral hygiene for seniors, visit the American Dental Association website's Oral Longevity section.