As the saying goes, "You don't have to brush your teeth -- just the ones you want to keep." Oral care is important at any age. But especially as you get older, neglecting the health of your teeth and mouth can have more serious consequences than simply a cavity or two. You may experience problems ranging from losing your teeth altogether to suffering from gum disease or even a heart attack.
One problem you'll face as you age is that your mouth will produce less saliva, leading to dry mouth. Older people often also take more medications -- for everything from Parkinson's disease to hypertension -- and some of these medications may also cause your mouth to dry out. Dry mouth is a problem because it can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and cavities [sources: Mayo Clinic, WebMD]. In addition, some medications may stain or discolor your teeth.
Your mouth contains 32 teeth (or at least it did at one time), and you use those teeth for biting, tearing, crushing and grinding your food, and to help you form words. Let's keep those pearly whites clean and healthy! Click over to the next page for some oral care tips.