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Plaza Dental Group: 1089 Jordan Creek Pkwy #100, West Des Moines, IA 50266

Elderly Dental Problems: How to Address and Prevent Them


As you grow old, you may face a few challenges in maintaining a healthy smile. This is because aging makes you more susceptible to many oral health problems. However, dental health among seniors has greatly improved in recent years. Advanced dentistry makes it possible to address and prevent elderly dental problems effectively.

Common Elderly Dental Problems

Aging puts many older adults at risk for several oral health problems including:

1. Darkened Teeth

With age, the bone-like tissue (the dentin) that lies beneath the tooth enamel changes due to the beverage and foods consumed by us. In addition to teeth discoloration, the diminishing outer enamel layer allows the yellow dentin to become visible, causing darkened teeth.

2. Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a common condition among elderly patients which frequently leads to cavities. The problem is not age related, but the dry mouth has been listed as a side effect by some prescription medications used to treat diseases including depression, pain, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.

3. Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is a major problem among the elderly. Plaque buildup and tartar mostly contribute to tooth decay. Over time, gum recession can take place, exposing the roots of the tooth. Tooth decay results in cavities that cause pain, inflammation, infection, and even tooth loss. 

4. Gum Disease

Gum disease in the elderly is a frequent occurrence. Since gum disease develops over a longer period of time, older citizens are more likely to experience problems with gum disease than younger people.

5. Tooth Loss

Tooth loss in seniors is a common issue. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 27.27% of elders over the age of 65 have their remaining teeth missing. Smoking and poor dental hygiene mainly contribute to tooth loss among seniors.

6. Bad Breath

Older adults often suffer from bad breath. However, bad breath isn’t a stand-alone symptom as it is linked to underlying problems such as the dry mouth and periodontal disease. Poor dental hygiene can also lead to bad breath. 

Tips to Address and Prevent Dental Problems in the Elderly

As a senior citizen, you can enjoy good oral health by making informed decisions and taking proper care of your teeth and gums. Here are some oral care tips to preserve good oral hygiene:

  • Brush twice daily with a toothpaste that has fluoride in it.
  • Floss once a day
  • Pay regular visits to your dentist for a dental cleaning and oral exam
  • Use antibacterial mouthwash to rinse off bacteria to prevent the plaque buildup and gum disease
  • Change your toothbrush every 3 -4 months, or earlier if the bristles become tattered
  • Quit smoking
  • Limit consumption of highly sugary food and beverages
  • Increase your calcium intake to strengthen your teeth
  • Clean your dentures regularly with denture cleaners
  • Remove your dentures from your mouth every four hours to maintain your mouth health

As you age, it’s essential to remember these potential risks and act accordingly. You can enjoy a sparkling, healthy smile with the help of your dentist and the right dental care. 

Contact us to learn how to maintain excellent oral health even in your senior years. Schedule your dental appointment with one of our Des Moines dentists today!

Plaza Dental Group

Plaza Dental Group is a leading group of dentists in Des Moines, IA that provides high-quality dentistry in a comfortable and stress-free environment. We have a team of caring and highly-skilled professionals that uses state-of-the-art technology and delivers excellent service to the patients. Request an appointment today!

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4.7
Based on 392 reviews
I feel like I need to give some background. I was having a hard time. A hard time for about three years. In that time I stopped taking care of myself. I just didn’t care anymore. But then, I did some work and decided I want toIn the time I was in a “3-year dark place”, I had stripped away the enamel on my two front teeth. It caused my two front teeth to become easily stained. In a very “lady, what’s goin’ on with your teeth” way. Did I mention I’m in a very customer-facing job?Today, Dr. Odland fixed my teeth.I couldn’t be more proud to smile today. I think I smiled so much others couldn’t help but also smile. It was a good feeling.Thanks doc. And my hygienist. I’m so sorry I didn’t remember, your name. (Abigale, maybe? Good lord I’m so sorry I didn’t remember) You were great! I appreciate you!TLDR: if you need a good dentist, you should go here.read more
Briana Carpenter
Briana Carpenter
Beautiful office with great people providing excellent oral healthcare!If you’re thinking about a dental implant, I recommend Dr. Jeremy Flinkman. I had zero pain when he placed the post into the bone. In three month, I go back to be scanned for measurements for the crown. Do not get a bridge - go with an implant.read more
Kerilyn Conrad
Kerilyn Conrad
Things went very well today. It should make getting the bridge done easier. Today was prep for the Bridge. Very easy and quick. Did not have to bite into a mold. Looking forward to finishing the process.
Chris Refsland
Chris Refsland
I had a great experience with my treatment at this place. They are the most trustworthy and clean team. Their hardwork will pay you off with amazing tooth for sure. I highly recommend this place and a must visit for any of your tooth work ! Thank you !
vijay purna
vijay purna
I needed to have a tooth extracted. Dr. Dietrich was amazing. She kept reassuring me during the process, which I really needed. She worked quickly and efficiently and treated me with respect and kindness. Not a fun process but she helped calm me.
Connie Scharlach
Connie Scharlach
I had the pleasure of working with Talia in my first appointment in years. She made me feel heard emotionally and financially while still being quick and efficient. Couldn’t have asked for a better reintroduction to oral health care.
Leana Bishop
Leana Bishop
Jillian repaired my temporary crown. She is extremely pleasant and very sensitive to her patients. She also is very knowledgeable and has excellent skills in performing her dental procedures. Definitely a 5 + staff member and an asset to the Plaza Dental Group team.
Victoria Arndt
Victoria Arndt
I started going to Plaza Dental group when unsatisfied with my previous provider. My experience has been fantastic. After only one visit the staff knew me by name and remembered small details about my life. They also informed of missing sealants my previous dentist had ignored. Since going for my first visit I have had most of them replaced, as well as a Boost Whitening Treatment from Manny. The staff is excellent, and I would recommend them to even those who don’t have cavities or staining. I fell into that category and have still seen improvement in what most people labeled as a perfect smile.read more
Levi Larson
Levi Larson
I had the best experience I have ever had at the dentist before! I had Becca for my cleaning and she was the absolute best. She was so kind and super cheerful and just an extremely fun person to have clean my teeth. While doing my cleaning, Dr. Jones came in to check my teeth and was super welcoming and made me feel more comfortable than ever, given I hadn’t been to a dentist in quite a few years and made me feel so good about my teeth. Overall, I can’t describe into words how absolutely amazing my experience at Plaza was. I will most definitely be back!read more
Spencer Barnes
Spencer Barnes
I had a great experience with Dr. Jones and Manny. I had several procedures, and they took extra care each time, ensuring my comfort, understanding of the work, and smooth recovery. Great results and professional care. Absolutely recommended.
Eric Thortsen
Eric Thortsen
Everyone at Plaza Dental has been friendly and makes coming to the dentist a positive experience. Currently doing SureSmile aligners and treatment cost has been very affordable! I would recommend Dr. Odland and his team!
Breyonna Peckham
Breyonna Peckham
The hygienist and Dr are excellent. Friendly, thoughtful (what station of music would you like to hear for example) competent.I bounced around a few dentists after mine retired and am glad I found this group. Highly recommended.
Rose Mitchell
Rose Mitchell
I’ve been a patient at Plaza for over a decade. The staff is so friendly, the location is easy to access, and scheduling/rescheduling is simple and convenient. I used to hate going to the dentist but they have helped me feel comfortable with the process and confident with my smile.
Bethany Arganbright
Bethany Arganbright
All staff & dentist were very good, very helpful & they all had very nice personalities. They were knowledgeable & through. Refered me to a surgeon that could maybe help me with implants. Kudos plaza dental
Deb Stineman
Deb Stineman
I had a fear of Dentist but after my visit there it was awesome. The staff was amazing and so welcoming and friendly. Susie was the best im from Louisiana and she played some Zydeco music for me this place is amazing. The hand wax was the icing on the cake.
murrell roland
murrell roland
I highly recommend Dr. Odland. His ability to be personable and professional is exceptional! He made me feel comfortable and confident regarding my dental decisions. In addition, Noel, Carley, and Erin have been wonderful. I’ve also had a great experience with Rick. Destinae always checks you in with a smile.read more
Cheryl Fontanini
Cheryl Fontanini
Amazing team, They take the time to listen to your concerns and understand your concerns. They go above and beyond to insure you are comfortable and really get to know you.
holly schelle
holly schelle
Rick gave us a great referral to help us with getting my husband's dentures so he can have teeth again! The staff were friendly and made us feel respected.
Nancy Costa
Nancy Costa
I love coming to Plaza Dental. The people are so friendly and welcoming. Lacey is fantastic. She loves her job and her patients. I appreciate her and all she does to make me feel comfortable . She is the very best !!!
kathy and tim meyer
kathy and tim meyer
As usual, I only waited a few minutes until Talia came to bring me to the back. The treatment itself was pleasant and efficient and everybody was very friendly and helpful. I definitely recommend this place!
Martina Walther
Martina Walther

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1089 Jordan Creek Parkway, Suite 100, West Des Moines, IA 50266

Opening Hours

  • Mon - Wed 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

  • Thursday 8:00 am - 3:00 pm
  • Friday 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Sat - Sun Closed

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