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Oral care for elderly

We all want the best for our elderly relatives – to look after their diet, movement and general health. Just make sure you don’t forget their oral health too.

Danger zone

As we age, our risk of dental health problems increases. Gum disease, including receding gums, is the most common oral health problem faced by the elderly. Receding gums can lead to decaying tooth roots and tooth loss, which in turn can lead to an uneven jawbone. Brushing twice daily with an antibacterial toothpaste, like Colgate® Total Pro Gum Health, which helps reverses gum problems in 4 weeks.

Cancer treatments, medication side effects, or specific diseases can cause a reduction in saliva flow, and a build-up of germs in the mouth. These are just some of the conditions that can rear their heads, so it’s important to take extra care of our oral health, which can help enable you or your relatives to avoid pain, discomfort and medical costs.

False teeth, real problems

Don’t assume that your grandpa or grandma will avoid problems because they have dentures – dentures can be a real headache too. Ill-fitting dentures or dentures combined with poor dental hygiene can cause a buildup of Candida albicans. Let’s hope you never have to be acquainted with this exotic name – it’s a fungus that causes painful inflammation of the tissue around a denture.

Make sure you and your elderly relative know how to care for, clean, and maintain their dentures, and visit a dentist regularly. They can check that there are no problems, and ensure the dentures continue to fit well.


The UN estimates that there are currently about 343,000 centenarians (100-year-olds) worldwide. By 2050, they theorize that this number will increase ten-fold. As the world’s lifespan surges upwards, it’s increasingly important to look after your teeth – they have to last you a long time!

Foods that fit

Loss of teeth, poor oral hygiene or ill-fitting dentures can all make it difficult for an elderly person to chew properly. If your elderly relative is finding harder foods difficult to chew, try adapting dishes that don’t require so much chewing, such as soups and stews.

Receding gums can also cause sensitivity to hot or cold foods, so temperature is an important factor. If you can, cut down on scorching hot tea and brain-freeze ice cream! Anti-sensitivity toothpastes, like Colgate® Sensitive Pro Relief™, can provide instant and long-lasting relief to that painful sensitivity.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.