Fluoride is not just for kids; it is as important for older adults as it is for other age groups. Tooth decay is as much of a problem for older adults, especially along the gum line and on root surfaces. Adults who have lived in a fluoridated community have significantly fewer decayed teeth than those in a non-fluoridated community. Also older adults can benefit from in-office fluoride applications as well as daily use of fluoridated toothpaste.
Here are some other important reasons why fluoride is essential for older adults.
• Xerostomia (dry mouth) and medications
• High carbohydrate diet along with frequency of carbohydrates
• Inadequate oral care
• Exposed root surfaces
Here is a list of available fluoride therapies.
• Fluoridated water
• Fluoridated toothpaste
• Fluoride varnish
• Applied fluorides- gel or foam
• Daily fluoride prescription
Wanda Cloet, RDH, MS is the program director at Central Community College in Hastings, Nebraska. She holds a Bachelor of Health Science Degree in Dental Hygiene from Wichita State University and a Master of Science Degree in Vocational Education from the University of Nebraska- Kearney. Ms. Cloet is a member of the American Dental Hygienists' Association and the American Dental Educators Association. She has served on several national committees for the American Dental Hygienists' Association. She serves as a consultant to the Commission on Dental Accreditation.