Harvard Health Letter

The aging mouth - and how to keep it younger

Teeth, gums, and the rest of the oral cavity need extra care and attention if you want them to stay healthy in your later years.

Aging isn't always pretty, and your mouth is no exception. (Ever consider why you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth?) A century ago the need for dentures in later life was almost a foregone conclusion. Today, three-quarters of people over 65 retain at least some of their natural teeth, but older people still suffer higher rates of gum disease, dental decay, oral cancer, mouth infections, and tooth loss. While these problems are nothing to smile about, you can still do a lot to keep your mouth looking and feeling younger than its years.

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