Good oral hygiene habits are vital at any age, especially as we get older. Contrary to popular belief, there’s nothing “normal” about seniors losing their teeth. While denture use and tooth loss are common among elderly adults, it doesn’t mean it’s a natural stage of aging. For most seniors, losing teeth is a sign of poor dental health.
Neglecting oral care can lead to major problems like tooth decay and gum disease, which has been linked  to heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, respiratory disease, and certain cancers. Flossing and brushing your teeth daily with the right toothpaste is essential to maintaining good oral health.
Most toothpaste products in the market are meant to not only clean your mouth but also help address various issues with your oral health. This could be anything from whitening your teeth and freshening your breath to helping address tooth sensitivity and preventing cavities. With so many toothpaste options in the market today, it can be quite difficult to choose one that’s best for your needs.
In this post, we’ll share some considerations and tips on what to look for when buying toothpaste for seniors, and we’ll then round up some of our favorite toothpaste for seniors.
What To Look for When Looking for the Best Toothpaste for Seniors
Here are some important features of toothpaste that you should consider for older adults:
Gum disease is a common dental ailment among seniors. It’s not a result of aging; rather, gum disease is often caused by the build-up of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. Since gums are responsible for securing your teeth in your mouth, this disease could result in tooth loss. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and using a good toothpaste with anti-gingivitis properties can help reverse its progress.
Some of the signs and symptoms of gingivitis include soft, swollen, and puffy gums, bleeding while brushing or flossing, receding gum line, change in the color of gums from pink to red, and bad breath.
If you suspect you or your loved one has gingivitis, you should try getting a toothpaste with anti-gingivitis properties. Plus, you want to catch this problem as fast as possible before reaching the last, often irreversible stages of gum disease, periodontitis.
Having a pearly white smile can be a gateway to great confidence and solid oral health. However, as we age, teeth will naturally tend to become more discolored and stained. This could be a result of many different causes, with coffee and smoking being some of the most popular culprits.
Moreover, the enamel (the outer protective layer of your teeth) thins over time, and as it fades, it exposes the dentin layer. Dentin is naturally yellow, which results in discoloration. Dentin also gets more discolored with time too.
Good whitening toothpaste will go a long way in helping you keep stains under wraps and effectively eliminate existing stains. While whitening properties shouldn’t be the only consideration when choosing toothpaste for the elderly, it could certainly help them get a more brilliant smile and give their confidence levels a boost.
We often hear fluoride being mentioned in nearly every toothpaste ad, but what exactly does it do? Well, fluoride is a key ingredient when it comes to fighting cavities, which are the sticky bacteria films that cause teeth to decay.
Cavities are often associated with kids who like sugary sweets and routinely forget to brush their teeth after meals. However, it can affect seniors too.
Plaque, the sticky layer of bacteria that forms on teeth and gums throughout the day, can not only lead to bad breath but also tooth decay and gum disease in the long term for any age group. Fluoride helps to get rid of the plaque and to rebuild the enamel.
Moisturizing Agents for Dry Mouth
Special dry mouth toothpaste products are widely available, and they can be helpful for seniors. Some medications can lead to decreased saliva production, which might lead to bad breath, discomfort, mouth sores, and trouble swallowing. Saliva is also important for balancing the natural bacteria in your mouth to avoid tooth decay.
Toothpaste with moisturizing agents in its ingredients can be helpful and provide some relief. And with many seniors being on a variety of medications, these kinds of toothpaste can be beneficial.
The Best Toothpaste for the Elderly
This is a toothpaste specially designed for protecting the tooth enamel from the negative effects of acid erosion. The Pronamel formula is integrated with teeth strengthening ingredients like calcium to help restore your teeth and reduce sensitivity. When used two times a day, it can help re-harden and strengthen acid-weakened enamel, freshen breath, and fight cavities.
All in all, it’s a great toothpaste option for seniors with sensitive teeth, and it’s generally less abrasive compared to some other alternatives.
- Perfect for sensitive teeth
- The formula is specially optimized with minerals to help strengthen teeth
- Helps to protect against acid erosion by acidic foods and drinks
- Wide screw top lid
- Light mint flavor
- Some people may not enjoy the unique light mint taste
- The twist-off cap might require significant effort for some users
Colgate has been a trusted brand in the dental hygiene industry for many years. This is a great product for the fact that it is specially formulated for sensitive teeth, and it contains ingredients that can soothe nerves.
It’s worth noting that sensitive teeth are sometimes an indication of a serious problem that should be checked and addressed by a dentist. Nonetheless, if the sensitivity or pain persists after 4 weeks of use, you should consult your dentist.
- Great value for money
- Effectively removes plaque, fights tartar, and help protect against cavities with regular brushing
- Contains potassium nitrate, which is clinically shown to help soothe nerves contained in exposed dentin
- Flip-top lid
- Some users claim that it’s not as effective as other options on the list
- The clean mint flavor might not be ideal for some users
The Crest 3D whitening toothpaste can gently remove surface stains caused by factors such as daily foods and beverages, and also help prevent the development of cavities. It contains fluoride, which should help strengthen weakened enamel and create an anti-cavity benefit through regular brushing. The Crest 3D comes with a strong minty flavor that’s designed to remove up to 80% of the surface stains.
- Value for money
- Effective whitening properties
- Flip-top cap
- Contains fluoride that helps to protect against cavities
- Has a thin consistency that could put off some people
- The mint flavor is not always ideal for some users
For those who are pro-peroxide, then this is one product to consider. It features a rapid-release variant of the whitening ingredient, along with sodium fluoride to help keep the enamel strong. Unlike most of the other whitening products that whiten teeth on the surface, the Peroxide formula on this Rembrandt’s toothpaste is designed to get rid of stains under the surface.
- Strong whitening ingredients that are safe for daily use
- Screw off cap
- Contains sodium fluoride to help prevent cavities
- Fresh mint flavor
- The active dental peroxide is the same enamel-safe substance dentists use
- Quite pricey – pricier than other options on the list
The Nuskin AP-24 formula is designed to bind to the teeth’ enamel and create a protective coating that prevents the build-up of stains and plaque. It’s worth noting that none of the ingredients in the formula are whitening in nature – they are only designed to prevent the build-up of stains.
- Creates a protective coating to help prevent stains and plaque
- Has a vanilla-mint flavor that provides lasting fresh breath
- Whitening toothpaste without peroxide
- Contains fluoride to prevent cavities
- Pricier than most options on the list
- Contains sodium laurel sulfate that could irritate some mouths
Choosing the right toothpaste for your personal needs can sometimes feel overwhelming while in the store. However, the list we’ve provided above should give you a solid head start. Otherwise, you can simplify the process by reading the package.
Of course using the best toothbrush is an important part of improving a senior’s oral hygiene. For most seniors and the elderly, I recommend an electric toothbrush because they tend to get the job done better – and faster too.
Don’t forget to brush twice a day, floss once a day, and visit your dentist regularly.