How to Keep Your Elderly Loved One’s Teeth and Gums Healthy

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Old age can cause many dental issues, including dry mouth, gum disease, tooth loss, and weakened teeth. Therefore, it’s important for your senior loved one to remain up to date on dental care and maintain oral hygiene. Here are a few ways seniors can keep their teeth, gums, and mouths as healthy as possible.

Brush Twice Daily

It can be difficult for seniors to practice good oral hygiene because they might forget to brush and floss on a regular basis. The difficulty could be attributed to physical problems such as Parkinson’s or arthritis, which can make it challenging to use a toothbrush and floss properly. Therefore, seniors may need help from family caregivers to keep their mouths clean. For maximum cleanliness, the American Dental Association recommends people of all ages brush twice a day for two minutes with toothpaste that contains fluoride. It’s also important to use an antibacterial mouthwash and dental floss once a day to clean any tiny crevices that were missed during brushing. It may be helpful for an aging adult to use an ergonomic toothbrush or water flosser.

Seniors with cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s or dementia may sometimes forget to complete their oral hygiene routines. Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors to manage without assistance, and it can be just as challenging for families who don’t have experience in providing Alzheimer’s care. Oshkosh Home Care Assistance provides Alzheimer’s care seniors and their families can depend on. Our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method was designed to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives.

Keep Dentures Clean

Some seniors have dentures to replace missing teeth. Keeping their dentures clean can prevent bacteria from flourishing within the mouth, which can cause bad breath and illness. After each meal, dentures should be rinsed thoroughly. As with teeth, dentures need to be brushed twice a day. However, seniors should use a special denture cleaning paste instead of toothpaste, which might abrade dentures. At night, dentures should be soaked in a denture solution.

Protect Against Dry Mouth

Elderly people who take certain medications are prone to dry mouth. Due to the lack of saliva, bacteria in the mouth can multiply and lead to cavities. Talk to your loved one’s doctor or dentist about possible causes and treatments for dry mouth. Encourage your loved one to stay hydrated, use moistening mouthwashes, and avoid substances that cause dry mouth, such as alcohol.

Practicing good oral hygiene is an important daily task some seniors can’t always accomplish on their own. If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior home care. Oshkosh Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.

Get Balanced Nutrition

A balanced diet also helps seniors keep their teeth and gums healthy. In addition to boosting overall health, a nutritious diet helps the immune system function properly, reducing the risk of oral infections. Calcium, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients are necessary to keep teeth, bones, muscles, and connective tissues healthy.

Visit the Dentist

Most seniors with good oral health should go to the dentist every six months for routine cleanings and checkups. However, seniors with gum disease or other oral issues may need to see their dentists more regularly. Even if a senior thinks his or her mouth is clean, dentist visits are very important because a dentist or oral hygienist can notice any issues and recommend treatment before the problems become serious.

Some seniors may not be able to take proper care of their teeth and gums due to chronic health conditions. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to address if their families opt for professional homecare. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner in caregiving for your aging loved one. Contact one of our experienced Care Managers today at (920) 216-6276 to learn more about our reliable in-home care services. 

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