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Oral Health Topics

Aging and Dental Health

Key Points

  • The demographic of older adults (i.e., 65 years of age and older) is growing and likely will be an increasingly large part of dental practice in the coming years.
  • Although better than in years past, the typical aging patient’s baseline health state can be complicated by comorbid conditions (e.g., hypertension, diabetes mellitus) and physiologic changes associated with aging.
  • Older adults may regularly use several prescription and/or over-the-counter medications, making them vulnerable to medication errors, drug interactions or adverse drug reactions.
  • Potential physical, sensory, and cognitive impairments associated with aging may make oral health self-care and patient education/communications challenging. 
  • Dental conditions associated with aging include dry mouth (xerostomia), root and coronal caries, and periodontitis; patients may show increased sensitivity to drugs used in dentistry, including local anesthetics and analgesics.

  • Introduction
  • Potential Comorbidities and Physiology of Aging
  • Medication Considerations
  • Oral Health and Dental Considerations
  • References
  • ADA Resources
  • Other Resources

Prepared by: Center for Scientific Information, ADA Science Institute
Last Update: November 20, 2015


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