Dental care in later life

Until not so long ago, it almost seemed to be considered a law of nature: as you get older, you lose your teeth. It was seen as normal to expect to have one’s “third set of teeth” at some point of life.

What is the most common teeth problem in older people?

Root tooth cavities

Occurs when the root of the tooth is exposed through gum tissue recession or loss of attachment between the gum tissue and the tooth roots


Because the gum begin to recede in older age, the tooth neck become exposed, making teeth particularly susceptible to decay. If gum retraction is accompanied by aggressive brushing, crowns can also show signs of aging and become porous.

Tooth neck decay is made worse by a lack of saliva in the mouth, saliva production decreases with age, but many medicines taken in later age also cause dry mouth as a side effect.

How dry mouth can be improved?

  • Drinking and chewing a lot is very important because this stimulates the saliva flow.
  • Suck on sugarless candies and gum as they also stimulate saliva production.
  • Use alcohol free mouthwash.
  • Avoid breathing through your mouth.

Many herbs can help stimulate saliva production and temporarily relieve dry mouth, among them:

  • Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis). The gel or juice inside aloe vera plant leaves is moisturizing for the mouth. Purchasing aloe vera juice is a great way to treat dry mouth.
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale).  It helps stimulate saliva production, which also helps dry mouth. Why not treat yourself with a zingy stir-fry of ginger and honey?

I wear dentures

There is nothing wrong with them, but special care should be taken with removable dentures. They can become the breeding grounds for bacteria and cause dangerous infections because of bacteria, fungi and other germs.

It is important to pop dentures out when going to sleep. People who wear their dentures overnight are twice as likely to suffer from pneumonias as those who remove their dentures to sleep.


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