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Does Dental Plaque Increase With Age?


Posted on 3/1/2024 by Weo Admin
A 3d rendering of plaque and removal toolsAge itself does not increase plaque. However, the aging mouth is more prone to dryness and dental pockets, which increase the risk of plaque buildup.

Is Age a Risk Factor for Plaque Buildup?


As we age, the mouth also degenerates, with teeth, gums, jawbones, and all related tissue becoming weaker. Every day, wear and tear plays a great role in accelerating this natural degeneration. This explains why, even with ideal oral care, the prevalence of oral disorders increases with age. There is no direct correlation between age and dental plaque, but plaque buildup seems to worsen with age. The Journal BMC Oral Health attributes this increased prevalence of dental plaque to a poorer general condition of the mouth as people age. Some of the risk factors for plaque buildup as people age include:

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth refers to a condition when the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva to keep the mouth hydrated. Dry mouth in old age is associated with medications that affect salivary glands, smoking, prolonged alcohol use, and dehydration. A dry mouth encourages the breeding of bacteria and the subsequent accumulation of plaque.

Gum Recession

Gum recession affects about 88 percent of people above the age of 65 years. Gum recession is simply the pulling away of gum from the teeth. This exposes the delicate tooth root underneath, increasing the risk of problems, which include tooth decay and cavities. Tooth decay also creates cavities for bacteria to hide and breed. The bacteria damage the already weak gums, causing gingivitis and periodontitis, which further encourage the accumulation of plaque. Common causes of gum recession include aggressive teeth brushing, tobacco use, braces, and previous episodes of gum disease.

Tooth Decay

Dry mouth and gum recession as people age increase the risk of tooth decay. The enamel also wears out with age, further increasing the possibility of developing tooth decay. If not corrected, tooth decay mostly leads to tooth loss. Cavities act as dental pockets for bacterial activity, further increasing the risk of dental plaque accumulation.

Closing Remarks


Oral hygiene becomes a challenge with old age, and this increases the risk of plaque forming and accumulating. Contact us today for a dental care assessment and treatment plans.

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Oak Park Dental, 3380 Astoria Way NE, Salem, OR 97305 | (971) 600-0211 | salemsmiles.com | 4/16/2024 | Page Terms:dentist Salem OR |