Geriatric Dentistry

Among the effects of aging on the organism, changes in the oral cavity and the tissues surrounding the oral cavity are important. With aging, tooth loss increases, saliva flow rate decreases, oral mucosa and muscles atrophy occur. These structural changes cause differences in the chewing function and feeding habits of the elderly. Nutritional deterioration paves the way for the development of a number of pathological changes.

Natural physiological changes occur with age in the chewing system, teeth, periodontal tissues, oral mucosa, salivary glands, neuromuscular system and alveolar bone. These physiological changes cause water loss in cells, slowing of cell division and tissue repair, decreased metabolic rate, increased cell atrophy, increased cell pigmentation, decreased cell fat infiltration, decreased tissue elasticity and decreased neuromuscular functions.

Oral findings that are frequently encountered in the elderly are root surface caries, periodontitis, xerestomy, jaw bone resorption, oral cancers, hyperpigmentation, decreased atrophy and taste sensation in oral mucosa and muscles.