Due to increasing frailty, the use of multiple medications, dry mouth (xerostomia) and other health conditions, seniors may become more susceptible to dental disease including decay (root decay is a particular concern) and gum disease. Adults over the age of 40 are also at greater risk of being diagnosed with an oral cancer.
Caring for an aging parent
Older adults may begin to rely on others to support their basic dental care need. If you have an aging parent or are a caregiver consider the following:
- Schedule regular dental appointments. A regular examination (at least annually) by a dentist can help to identify trouble signs early. This is particularly important for frail seniors who may not verbally communicate pain.
- Discuss ways to support a senior with their dental care. Speak to the dentist about tips to support the dental health care needs of an aging parent or person in your care. Ask for tips to help you brush natural and artificial teeth and what to look for inside the mouth.
- Inquire about support services in residential care. If your parent is in a residential care facility, ask what support services are in place to help residents with their daily mouth care.
See Educational Presentations and Resources for more information on caring for seniors' oral health.
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