How Age Affects Teeth and Gums

dental care of senior citizens

As the body ages, there are changes in the cells, tissues, and organs. Every part of the body is affected by aging, and the teeth and gums are no exceptions. Proper care can help keep the adverse effects of aging at bay. The dental care of senior citizens is a crucial issue to be educated on.

How is Oral Health Affected by Age

As people age, the body slows down, and certain parts weaken. Some of the general things that happen to the body as it ages are:

  • Slower renewal rate of cells
  • Collagen production is reduced
  • Tissues are thinner
  • Bones become more brittle and less dense
  • Healing takes longer, and sickness occurs quicker as the immune system becomes weaker

Tissue and bone in the mouth can naturally become affected by these changes. The likelihood of oral health problems can increase if senior dental care is not taken seriously. Let’s discuss the common problems that arise when dental care for senior citizens is neglected.

Dry Mouth

Certain medications or certain health conditions can cause dry mouth, but it is also a common result of aging. The production of saliva is an important factor in good oral health. It prevents tooth decay and reinforces the good health of the gums. Lack of saliva can cause problems tasting, chewing, and swallowing food. It can also cause mouth sores. At worst, it can cause gum disease or yeast infections.

Problems of the Gums

It is not unusual for the gums to start receding as we get older. This happens when gum tissues lose their grip on a tooth. The base or root of the tooth often becomes exposed. Bacteria builds up on these vulnerable spots and can end up causing decay or inflammations. Periodontitis is the name for a serious gum disease that can end up with tooth loss. The risk of periodontal disease is increased by:

  • Not brushing/flossing every day
  • No regular dental care senior citizens
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Dry mouth
  • Weak immune system


As gums recede with age, the risk of cavities increases, too, as teeth are left exposed and vulnerable to bacteria. Dry mouth can also help add to this risk as bacteria can more easily build up in the mouth when saliva production is not happening properly. Bacteria in the mouth create a film on the tooth called plaque. The sugars and starches in the food that’s not been brushed out or flossed are used by them to create acid. This acid breaks down the enamel of the tooth, leading to cavities.

Regular and frequent trips to the dentist are always a necessity no matter a person’s age. However, this necessity becomes more urgent as a person ages. Visit Markham Dental Office to talk about your dental health today with professionals who care! To learn more, visit our website!

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