An elderly patient who has retained her or his teeth may be at risk for root caries. An elderly patients with risk factors for dental caries should be targeted for dental examination and care.


Risk factors for root caries in the elderly:

(1) number of teeth remaining

(2) presence of calculus

(3) presence of plaque

(4) xerostomia from medication and/or disease

(5) history of poor dental care

(6) difficulty in receiving dental care


Distribution for caries:

(1) more likely to be found on mandibular teeth than maxillary

(2) more likely to affect molars and premolars

(3) xerostomic medications increase the risk for caries, particularly in the maxillary teeth


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