With 76 million baby boomers in the U.S. quickly approaching retirement age, it is natural they may soon be facing many health issues, including dental problems. However, unlike their parents’ generation, baby boomers have grown old with their teeth due to healthier lifestyles, education about health and teeth issues, fluoridated drinking water, and fluoride treatments at the dentist. Still, there are certain problems that dentists feel are more of a threat to this generation than others, and with the right treatment plan these adults can look forward to living the rest of their life with healthy teeth.
The American Dental Association (ADA) reports that 43% of dentists believe maintaining good oral hygiene/preventive care is going to be the main oral health issue facing the baby-boomer generation, while thirty-two percent believe periodontal disease will be the primary concern. While these may be the most pressing issues, a survey of the baby boomers’ most requested procedures showed that this generation of adults is instead more concerned with their improving the look of their teeth. The number-one requested procedure by adults aged 40 to 60 was named as teeth whitening by 63% of dentists, with veneers, bonding, and crowns ranking as the second most requested procedure. Treatment for periodontal disease ranked third according to 55% percent of dentists.
Focusing more on periodontal disease would be beneficial for baby boomers. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, periodontal or gum disease is the second most prevalent disease in the U.S. after heart disease, affecting more than 50 million Americans — and only 15–20% receive treatment. Baby boomers would do well to brush twice daily, floss at least once before bed, and visit their dentist regularly, which is the same dental advice given to everyone throughout their lives. It sounds simple, but has many benefits, and will prepare adults for a lifetime of healthy smiles.