9: Oral Challenges of the Mature Person: Geriatric Dentistry

CHAPTER 9 Oral Challenges of the Mature Person

Geriatric Dentistry

People are living longer than ever before in the history of mankind. This increased longevity has been related to excellent preventive and therapeutic medical care, public education about health, improved diet, exercise, and a reduction in smoking and alcohol consumption. Many people are living into their eighties and nineties with good health and with the ability to live their lives in a near normal manner (Fig. 9.1). But, just as 60,000 miles on your automobile tires significantly wears them, 80 years of life takes its toll on your mouth. What challenges can you expect in your oral condition as you pass into the mature years of life? This chapter describes and demonstrates numerous oral conditions of the mature person. You may not have all of these conditions, but you will have some of them.


The most common malady of the mature years is arthritis. How does arthritis influence oral health? A person with painful arthritic hands finds it difficult to clean his or her mouth to the meticulous level that was possible in younger years. What is the significance of inadequate oral hygiene? Dental plaque and tartar accumulations cause increased dental caries (decay) (p. 167) and periodontal disease (p. 129). If you have more difficulty cleaning your mouth than you did when you were younger, it is suggested that you ask your dentist or hygienist to suggest a mechanical toothbrush for you, and that you change your routine visits to the dentist from the standard 6-month intervals to 3-month intervals. More frequent visits will cost you more preventive dollars, but you will have less tooth and supporting structure destruction and less expense for repair (see Chapter 19).

Jan 3, 2015 | Posted by in General Dentistry | Comments Off on 9: Oral Challenges of the Mature Person: Geriatric Dentistry
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