Any family caregiver for aging loved ones soon realizes that it’s important to emphasize their oral health. Due to age, certain dental issues and mouth problems can have a greater impact than when elderly people were younger. Even small issues can increase or worsen without proper care and a visit to the dentist regularly.
While the elderly should definitely follow basic oral hygiene practices of brushing and flossing regularly, there are a few additional things to keep in mind. Family caregivers can oversee a good elderly care dental routine that helps aging loved ones keep their bright smiles for years to come.
Seniors and Oral Health
It may seem like no big deal to focus on oral care for the elderly, but they are even more vulnerable to dental issues. With age, the nerves in the mouth are not as sensitive, so tooth pain, sore gums and other problems may not be noticed or felt before it is too late. Also, seniors may not be as dedicated to the basics of brushing and flossing as they once were for a variety of reasons ranging from forgetfulness to a weakened grip. Family caregivers can help the elderly care about healthy habits when it comes to taking care of their mouths.
Everyone knows that they are supposed to brush their teeth twice per day with toothpaste that has fluoride in it. However, seniors may have a harder time gripping a small toothbrush handle if they are suffering from arthritis. They may avoid brushing their teeth because it causes them pain, or they may not have the range of motion to get the bristles into all those hard-to-reach areas. Many elderly people like the large handle and rotating bristles of an electric toothbrush to satisfy their tooth-brushing needs.
The risk of cavities increases with age, and because of improved oral hygiene in recent decades, many seniors still have a lot of their own teeth. This means that flossing in between teeth is still very important. It can be hard for seniors to manage dental floss alone, so family caregivers should look into flossing sticks or water picks to help aging loved ones clean between their teeth.
Even with a full set of dentures, seniors still need to take care of their mouths because gum disease is particularly problematic for seniors. Special denture cleaners are available to keep them in good shape and to eliminate bacteria that may infect the gums. Seniors should remove their dentures for at least four hours every day (usually at night) to keep the gums healthy. Any sores or tender spots should be checked out by a dentist to rule out oral cancer or gum disease.
It’s important for elderly people to do what they can to live the healthiest life possible, and that includes oral hygiene. Most adults don’t even realize that the health of the mouth is a good indicator of the health of the rest of the body. When seniors achieve good oral health, it is one of the best things they can do for their body. With the help of family caregivers, family members, and home care assistants, they can overcome even the most difficult issues related to dental care.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring professional elderly care services in San Mateo, CA, call the caring staff at Aviva In-Home Care. Call today: (415) 795-2203
At Aviva, we also use the latest in health technology to maximize opportunities for communication between all members of our client’s care circles. We utilize nursing oversight to ensure that we are in compliance with physician orders, and that our careplans are being properly administered. Lastly, Aviva is a proud member of The Senior’s Choice, a national network of leading home care agencies that share best practices and focus on continual improvement.
As owner of the business, I also promise to you my direct involvement in your loved ones care, and will always make myself available for feedback and improvements in our service. I look forward to working with you and your loved one on creating a care plan that is perfectly suited to the family's needs. Thank you for considering Aviva as your care partner.
Latest posts by Evan Loevner, CEO (see all)