Treatment of periodontal disease in older adults

Periodontol 2000. 2016 Oct;72(1):108-19. doi: 10.1111/prd.12130.


Within the next 40 years the number of older adults worldwide will more than double. This will impact periodontal treatment needs and presents a challenge to health-care providers and governments worldwide, as severe periodontitis has been reported to be the sixth most prevalent medical condition in the world. Older adults (≥ 80 years of age) who receive regular dental care retain more teeth than those who do not receive such care, but routine general dental care for these individuals is not sufficient to prevent the progression of periodontitis with the same degree of success as in younger individuals. There is a paucity of data on the efficacy of different periodontal therapies for older individuals. However, considering the higher prevalence of chronic medical conditions seen in older adults, it cannot be assumed that periodontal therapy will yield the same degree of success seen in younger individuals. Furthermore, medications can influence the status of the periodontium and the delivery of periodontal care. As an example, anticoagulant drugs are common among older patients and may be a contraindication to certain treatments. Newer anticoagulants will, however, facilitate surgical intervention in older patients. Furthermore, prescription medications taken for chronic conditions, such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases, can affect the periodontium in a variety of ways. In summary, consideration of socio-economic factors, general health status and multiple-drug therapies will, in the future, be an important part of the management of periodontitis in older adults.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Chronic Disease / therapy
  • Dental Care
  • Disease Progression
  • Gingival Recession / therapy
  • Humans
  • Osteoporosis / complications
  • Osteoporosis / drug therapy
  • Periodontal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Periodontal Diseases / therapy*
  • Periodontitis / epidemiology
  • Periodontitis / therapy
  • Periodontium / drug effects
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Root Caries
  • Salivation / drug effects
  • Socioeconomic Factors


  • Anticoagulants