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Seniors: Keeping Up With Dental Hygiene

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Dental hygiene and health is an important component of an older person’s general health. Unfortunately, it is often overlooked. The professional team at Happy Smiles in Kansas City know that for many of our older patients, keeping up with dental hygiene can become a problem when arthritis and other health problems render them unable to floss or brush their teeth as efficiently as they used to. Today, we will be discussing a few common dental hygiene issues our older patients face and how they can avoid them.


Oral decay is a common disease that can occur at any time in your life. Over ninety percent of seniors who are sixty five or older have had dental cavities in their permanent teeth, according to the NIDCR. The risk for tooth decay becomes higher because many older adults don’t go to the dentist as often as they should or as often as they used to. Because of this cavities go undetected and untreated for far too long. Keeping regular appointments with the dentists at Happy Smiles in Kansas City is the key to getting cavities treated in a timely manner.

Taking care of cavities will negate the necessity of having root canals performed or having the teeth removed all together.

Trouble Eating

Dental Hygiene issues, whether from missing teeth, cavities, gum disease, improper dentures, or infection, can make eating a chore and can force people to adjust the quality and consistency of their daily diet.


Otherwise known as dry mouth, dry mouth is a common issue for most people sixty five or older. The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that 20 percent of seniors will suffer from dry mouth, which means the reduced flow of saliva. Saliva plays a crucial role in preventing tooth decay. Many seniors are on a variety of medications that may cause dry mouth. Medications that can cause dry mouth are:

  • Decongestants
  • Antihistamines
  • Blood Pressure Medications
  • Pain Pills
  • Incontinence Medications
  • Anti-Depressants
  • Diuretics
  • Muscle Relaxers
  • Parkinson’s Disease Medications

To help counteract dry mouth from these medication, the dentists at Happy Smiles in Kansas City recommend that you drink a lot of fluids and limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol. We also encourage you to schedule an appointment with our staff if you feel like your medication is causing you to get dry mouth.

Proper flossing, brushing, and visits the Happy Smiles office in Kansas City on a regular basis can help prevent tooth decay, gum disease and dry mouth. Seniors with limited dexterity who have trouble holding their tooth brush should consult their dentist about modifying their toothbrush for easier brushing or should consider switching to a better operated toothbrush.

Contact the professionals at Happy Smiles in Kansas City and schedule an appointment to consult one of our expert dentists. We care about you and your oral health!