A report from the CDC shows rates of oral cancer peak after age 60. And yet nearly 40% of older adults have not seen a dentist in the past year. That percentage holds even for people who are experiencing pain due to a tooth or gum issue. Karen Becerra, DDS, dental director of the Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center stated that good oral hygiene is often overlooked as a critical component of good general health.

Here are the 7 things older adults need to know about their teeth as they age (summary):

1. There are links to heart disease.
2. You want to avoid dry mouth.
3. Get a reliable cleaning toothbrush such as an electric toothbrush. Caregivers also need to help their loved ones in managing brushing and regular flossing if they cannot manage on their own.
4. A fluoridated rinse and toothpaste can help protect your teeth.
5. Watch your diet (ensure optimal calcium and vitamin D) and sugar intake as sugar can rot your teeth!
6. See your dentist (even if you have dentures!)
7. Push for better dental coverage.

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