Long in the Tooth Doesn’t Mean You Have to be Short on Oral Health

Share Article

Delta Dental reminds that you are never too old to practice proper oral health care

Just as when you are younger, good hygiene habits, proper nutrition and regular dental visits can prevent most problems and keep you orally fit for life.

Delta Dental is reminding seniors during National Healthy Aging Month that practicing good oral health habits is part of a healthy aging process.

“Good oral health is an important aspect of quality of life as we age,” said William Kohn, DDS, vice president of dental science and policy for Delta Dental Plans Association. “We put our teeth through a lot of stress throughout our lives, but with proper self-care and routine professional visits, there is no reason why our teeth and the tissue that supports them shouldn’t last a lifetime.”

Based on Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistics, this is a message that still needs to get out.

  •     Just 60 percent of seniors over the age of 65 visited the dentist in 2009. That percentage was the lowest of any of the surveyed age groups.1
  •     Almost 30 percent of those aged 65 and older have lost all of their teeth; one out of five of those with remaining teeth have untreated tooth decay, and one out of seven have moderate-to-severe periodontal (gum) disease.2

Seniors taking numerous prescription drugs may be at increased risk of oral health problems. Hundreds of common over-the-counter and prescription drugs can cause dry mouth, a condition that could lead to dental decay or dentures sores. So, people should discuss medications with their dentist.

Good oral health care is important even for those seniors who have lost their regular teeth. Besides helping ensure dentures and other prosthetic replacements fit properly, dentists are in a good position to identify life-threatening diseases like oral cancer early when they are at a more treatable stage. Additionally, modern technology has given us implants to replace lost teeth and support dentures that may look and function as well or better than natural teeth once did. Just like real teeth, regular home care and dental check-ups are recommended.

“Tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease does not have to be part of the aging process,” said Dr. Kohn. “Just as when you are younger, good hygiene habits, proper nutrition and regular dental visits can prevent most problems and keep you orally fit for life.”

About Delta Dental Plans Association
The not-for-profit Delta Dental Plans Association (http://www.deltadental.com) based in Oak Brook, Ill., is the leading national network of independent dental service corporations specializing in providing dental benefits programs to more than 56 million Americans in more than 95,000 employee groups throughout the country.

1 Source: Health, United States: 2010, table 93 [PDF - 9.4 MB] Accessed 2011.

2 “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Trends in Oral Health Status: United States, 1988-1994 and 1999 to 2004. Series 11 Number 248 2007.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Visit website