The predominant oral health problems of the elderly include:
Recurrent caries around failing restorations, cervical caries (around the neck of the tooth) or root caries are the most common dental caries in the elderly.
The prevalence of periodontal disease appears to increase with age, which may reflect an accumulation of disease over time rather than enhanced susceptibility. The number of teeth that need to be extracted due to periodontal disease increases with age.
Dry mouth (xerostomia)
Dry mouth is a common complaint of elderly people, a subject discussed in Mark Shifter’s article in the March issue of the Bulletin (Volume 10, Number 3).
Cancers of the mouth (oral and pharyngeal cancers) are primarily diagnosed in older adults; median age at diagnosis is 62 years. The progressive impact of smoking and drinking on the development of soft tissue lesions is more apparent in older adults, and the prevalence of oral cancer increases with age.