The care of elderly patients is a growing field in dentistry due to the increased number of patients aging with a full complement of teeth. According to a recent article in Dimensions of Dental Hygiene, the number of patients losing all of their teeth to dentures has decreased from over 50% in the 1980s to less than 15% in the 2000s. Many of these elderly patients reside in residential care facilities where they receive help with daily living and medical care, but frequently dental care is left to them. Unfortunately, this is where a number of tooth problems such as decay, periodontal disease, and tooth loss begin. There are a variety of reasons why this occurs. First they experience decreased manual dexterity to properly brush and floss. Secondly, they are sometimes experiencing Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease which affect their ability to remember if they have done their home care routine. Additionally, the medications they take decrease salivary flow and contribute to decay. Finally, these patient frequently consume high carbohydrate diets due to diminished taste buds that leave sweets as the only satisfying taste. As the family member of an elderly patient be sure to ask your dentist or hygienist for tips on how they can reduce plaque and decay forming bacteria.