Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Dental Care for Older Adults

Font Size
A
A
A

Topic Overview

Dental care for older people is much the same as for younger adults. But older adults do have concerns that younger adults do not. These may include:

Caregivers can help remind the people they are caring for to brush and floss their teeth or to clean their dentures. In some cases, caregivers may need to do the brushing and other care. People who have trouble using their hands or who have dementia may need this extra help.

Recommended Related to Oral Health

4 Things Your Dentist Wants You to Do Now

Are your pearly whites starting to look not so pearly? Maybe it's time to treat your teeth with a little respect. Paul Vankevich, DMD, an assistant professor of general dentistry at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, speaks for dentists everywhere when he lists four things you can do right now for a mouth that looks and feels fabulous. Kick the habit. Need another person in your life to explain why you need to quit smoking? Talk to your dentist. The nicotine and tar in cigarettes are...

Read the 4 Things Your Dentist Wants You to Do Now article > >

Dentures

Dentures are "false teeth." They can replace all the teeth in your mouth (complete denture) or only some of them (partial denture). If you need dentures, your dentist will measure your mouth and take impressions to create them.

You should care for your dentures as you would your teeth. It's also important to care for your gums. You or your caregiver should brush your gums, tongue, and the roof of your mouth every day with a soft-bristled brush before you put in your dentures. See your dentist on a regular basis.

To care for dentures:

  • Stand over a folded towel or bowl of water when you or your caregiver takes the dentures out. This way if you drop them, they will not break.
  • Store dentures in lukewarm water or denture-cleaning liquid overnight. Do not put them in hot water, and do not let them dry out.
  • Replace dentures about every 5 years. Using dentures daily "wears them out," and you will need to replace them.
  • Clean dentures every day. Cleaning helps prevent stains and helps the mouth stay healthy.
    • Rinse the dentures to remove any loose food.
    • Wet the brush, and brush the dentures with a denture cleanser such as Polident or Efferdent. Do not brush with toothpaste. It can scratch the dentures. You or your caregiver may be able to use hand soap or mild dishwashing liquid. Do not use household cleansers or bleach.
    • Brush every surface gently to avoid damage. Use a brush designed for cleaning dentures or a toothbrush with soft bristles.
  • Remember to take out the dentures at night. This lowers the risk of choking if the dentures become loose.

To care for teeth and gums:

  • Look at the gums daily before you put in the dentures. Let red, swollen gums heal before putting in the dentures again. If the redness does not go away in a few days, call the dentist. White patches on the inside of the cheeks could also mean the dentures aren't fitting well.
  • Leave the dentures out at least 6 hours every day. The mouth heals more slowly with age and needs time to recover from the friction of wearing dentures.
  • Don't put up with dentures that are too big, that click when you eat, or that don't feel good. It takes time to get used to dentures. But if they are still giving you trouble after the first few weeks, talk to your dentist about fitting them again. Don't try to "fix" your dentures yourself.
1 | 2

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Dental Care for Older Adults Topics

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
fruit drinks
Eat these to think better.
Balding man in mirror
Treatments & solutions.
No gym workout
Moves to help control blood sugar.
Remember your finger
Are you getting more forgetful?
acupuncture needle on shoulder
10 tips to look and feel good.
Close up of eye
12 reasons you're distracted.
birth control pills
Which kind is right for you?
embarrassed woman
Do you feel guilty after eating?
woman biting a big ice cube
Habits that wreck your teeth.
pacemaker next to xray
Treatment options.
Pink badge on woman chest to support breat cancer
Myths and facts.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.