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Geriatric Oral Hygiene: Maintaining Dental Health in the Golden Years

As we age, our bodies undergo various changes, and our oral health is no exception. The golden years bring about unique dental challenges, making oral hygiene even more crucial. While some dental issues are a natural part of ageing, many can be prevented with proper care and regular visits to the oral hygienist’s office.

Common dental issues in order adults

Dry Mouth: Reduced saliva flow, often a side effect of medications or a result of certain medical conditions, can lead to dry mouth. Saliva plays a vital role in neutralising acids and cleaning the mouth, so its reduction can increase the risk of cavities.
Gum Disease: Chronic diseases, poor oral hygiene, or the use of certain medications can heighten the risk of gum disease in older adults.
Tooth Loss: Ageing, gum disease, or untreated cavities can lead to tooth loss, affecting one’s ability to chew and speak.
Oral Cancer: The risk of oral cancer increases with age, making regular screenings essential.

Tips for maintaining oral health in the elderly

Regular Brushing and Flossing: Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, older adults should brush at least twice a day. Daily flossing is also crucial to remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth.
Stay Hydrated: Drinking water throughout the day can help combat dry mouth and keep tissues hydrated.
Regular Check-ups: Routine visits to the oral hygienist’s office can help detect and address potential dental issues early on.
Denture Care: For those who wear dentures, it’s essential to clean them daily and ensure they fit properly to prevent sores and infections.
Balanced Diet: Consuming a nutrient-rich diet can support not only oral health but overall well-being.

The role of the oral hygienists in geriatric care

Oral hygienists play a pivotal role in the dental care of older adults. They provide professional cleanings, offer guidance on home care, and recommend adaptive tools for those with mobility issues. Their expertise ensures that the unique dental needs of the elderly are addressed, promoting overall health and quality of life.


Ageing gracefully involves taking care of every aspect of one’s health, including oral hygiene. With the right practices, guidance from oral hygienists, and a proactive approach, older adults can enjoy good dental health, contributing to their overall well-being and happiness. Remember, a radiant smile has no age limit!