Senior Alternatives

Care Management and Home Care Services
Dental Care and the Elderly

October 17, 2015

As we age, the importance of maintaining excellent oral care increases. Not only do our elderly loved ones become more susceptible to gum disease and tooth loss, but keeping regular appointments with their dentist and practicing effective oral care at home becomes more difficult.

Barriers to consistent oral care include:

  1. Transportation. If your elderly loved one is no longer safe to drive, transportation becomes a barrier for oral health. Not only for transportation to and from the dentist appointments themselves, but also for purchasing the proper hygiene tools for home care.
  2. Arthritis in the hands and fingers can make brushing and flossing difficult and even impossible to perform.
  3. Dementia can also strongly inhibit our elderly loved ones from keeping appointments and practicing oral care at home. Forgetting to brush and floss, how to brush and floss, and not realizing that an appointment may be necessary, can quickly become barriers.

Unfortunately, seniors may become vulnerable to the many adverse effects of not keeping good oral care:

  1. Poor oral hygiene increases the risk of infections and disease causing bacteria that can spread throughout the body. This also elevates the danger of heart disease and strokes.
  2. Some studies are showing that there is a link between gum disease and anemia and even an increased risk of head and neck cancer. Gum disease is caused by poor diets and a failure to remove food left in the teeth.
  3. Tooth loss is also a symptom of gum disease and can result in an uneven jawbone, adding to the difficulty of keeping a healthy diet.
  4. Root decay is caused by the tissue around our gums receding due to prolonged exposure to acids and bacteria.

Fortunately, there are organizations in the greater Bay Area that are here to help you and your elderly loved one in overcoming the barriers for receiving proper oral health care.

Senior Alternatives Home Care and Care Management is here to answer your questions and to help coordinate dental care for you or your elderly loved one.


Unfortunately, seniors may become vulnerable to the many adverse effects of not keeping good oral care.

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