Senior Dental Care Guide: Top Tips for Healthy Teeth

Your teeth are one of the most important parts of your body–after all, you need them to eat and talk. It’s essential to take care of them throughout your life, especially as you get older. Senior dental care is crucial to keep a high quality of life.

But don’t worry–by following these tips, you’ll be on your way to a lifetime of healthy smiles!

The Importance of Senior Dental Care

Our mouths are a window to our overall health, and as we age, it’s important to take care of our teeth and gums.

Did you know that poor oral health can lead to several serious health problems?

  • Heart disease: Bacteria from infected gums that cause gingivitis and periodontitis can enter the bloodstream andtravel to the heart. This gives the bacteria a gateway to heart inflammation, clots, and even heart attack.
  • Respiratory infections:Infected gums can also lead to respiratory diseases like pneumonia or bronchitis.
  • Diabetes: There are more bacteria in your mouth right now than people on this planet. People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing gum disease, leading to serious health complications. For example, nearly22% of those diagnosed with diabetes also have periodontitis. This chronic condition can harm your gums, the tissues surrounding them, and even your bones.
  • Depression: Mental health and oral health go hand-in-hand. From neglecting hygiene to anxiety over appearances, keeping your teeth healthy can also keep your confidence and mental health at its highest.

Decay and Gum Disease in Seniors

When it comes to gum disease, more than68% of seniors suffer from it. And 96% or more adults above 65 years have had at least one cavity, while every one in five seniors suffers from tooth decay. 

It’s no secret aging increases the likelihood of decay and gum disease.

Gum disease is caused by bacteria in plaque, worsened by food left in teeth, poor diet, tobacco usage, and poorly fitting dentures among other reasons. When left untreated, this disease can destroy the gums, bone, and tissue supporting teeth.

Therefore, regulardental visits are crucial to catch and prevent this disease from occurring. Many seniors don’t have dental insurance, so targeting decay and gum disease when it happens becomes challenging and costly.

What To Eat and Drink

Making healthy and conscious food choices can go a long way in promoting oral health, even in later years.  Food and beverages to help maintain your oral health include:

  • Water: helps to keep your mouth hydrated. It’s ideal to opt for water compared to sugary or acidic drinks like soda or coffee that can damage your teeth.
  • Low-fat dairy:cheese, milk, and yogurt are low in sugar content but high in calcium and protein. It strengthens your teeth and keeps you satiated.
  • Nuts: help strengthen and protect teeth as they contain protein and help stimulate saliva production
  • Lean meats: protein and phosphorus-rich lean meats help rebuild and strengthen tooth enamel. It includes turkey, chicken, and fish.
  • Fruits and vegetables: contain high amounts of fiber and water, neutralizing and balancing your mouth.

While many believe that taking calcium supplements can be ideal, the best calcium and other essential nutrients are through food and beverages. It’s recommended that1000 milligrams of calcium be taken daily by seniors, and this can be done by consuming three cups of low-fat dairy.

However, keep in mind that just calcium is not enough. It needs to be accompanied by other nutrients like phosphorus and Vitamin D. Starch-filled foods like bread and potato chips should be avoided as they can end up getting caught between teeth. If consuming them, follow up with floss so the particles don’t get stuck between your teeth.

Avoid sticky, sugary foods like dried fruits and candy. Limit consumption of coffee and tea since they can wear your enamel, especially when they have added sugar.

How Caregivers Can Check on Their Elderly Loved Ones Dental Health

If a loved one is under your supervision, it’s crucial to maintain their dental care and oral health to have a comfortable life. You should ensure that they are:

  • Brushing and flossing every day
  • Making it to their dental appointments
  • Adopt good food habits, especially if they wear dentures
  • Rinsing dentures after every meal and are taking them out before sleeping

You'll also have to watch out for symptoms that indicate larger oral health issues, like having a constantly dry mouth. Scheduling an appointment with a dental expert is ideal when you feel like something needs to be checked out.

How To Save On Dental Treatments 

In a poll conducted, we found only half of adults above 65 years possessed dental insurance. While more than 60% of seniors have to visit a dentist due to age-related oral issues, most expenses come out-of-pocket. Finding ways to save on dental treatments is crucial for long-term financial stability.

Maintaining your oral hygiene and health at home can go a long way in preventing the need for frequent dental treatments. A dental discount provider can help when you’re looking to find smart and affordable alternatives to insurance. Finding dental discount plans is also ideal when looking for ways to save more.

When you go to the dentist, there are a number of things you can do to lower the cost of your treatment:

  1. Check the reviews: Before you go, check the reviews of the dentist near you online to know that you’re getting quality for your money.
  2. Verify that they accept your discount plan: Remember, dental savings plans are not insurance, so you always want to get the final discounted cost of treatment before getting any work done.
  3. Get multiple opinions (if possible): Dental work can be confusing, so make sure you’re making the most informed decision on what is right for your specific need. 
  4. Ask lots of questions: When you ask questions, you will understand the requirement for the procedure and the costs associated with it. 

Senior dental care is not always affordable, but using these tips can help you save where you can.

Tips For Maintaining Healthy Teeth And Gums

Practicing good oral hygiene is crucial to having healthy teeth and gums. Some key tips for incorporating into your lifestyle for better oral health care:

  1. Stick to your daily dental regime: Be sure to brush and floss thoroughly, and see your dentist regularly for cleanings. Your dentist can also help you identify any early signs of gum disease. 
  2. Quit tobacco: Tobacco use is a major risk factor for gum disease. If you’re currently smoking or using any tobacco products, quitting on them is one of the best things you can do for your oral health.
  3. Visit the dentist regularly: Going for regular cleanings and oral examinations can go a long way in maintaining optimal oral health during later years.


Save on Senior Dental Care

Medicare doesn’t cover routine dental care once you retire. The median age for oral cancer diagnosis is 62 years, which means that you might not be able to receive reimbursement on it by then. And you don’t want your financial situation to affect your oral health. Access to affordable dental care is crucial.

A dental discount plan like Carefree Dental can give you access to cheaper dental treatments at participating dentists.

With the Carefree Dental Card, you can save 15-50%* off your dental bill at participating providers, per visit in most instances. For only $15.95/month for individuals and $19.95/month for families, this can mean great discounts on your dental treatments. 

Sign up for Carefree Dental today to access cheaper dental care!



*Actual costs and savings vary by provider, service and geographical area.

The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed dentist or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.

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