Keeping teeth and gums clean may seem like a nuisance, but it is important for seniors to maintain a regular grooming routine to help prevent complications like cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis. Promoting dental hygiene doesn’t have to be difficult, and the senior care experts at Home Care Assistance in Westfield have a few tips for helping your senior loved one keep healthy teeth and gums.
1. Brush and Floss Daily
Brushing and flossing at least once daily can go a long way toward keeping teeth and gums healthy, as these actions are an effective way to remove food debris in the mouth. Using floss picks might be easier than long strands of floss. If your loved one has trouble brushing flossing, offer to assist.
2. Make Tooth Brushing Easier
If your loved one has arthritis, holding and using a toothbrush can become more difficult. Look for a toothbrush with a bigger handle or slide a piece of foam tubing onto the handle of a regular toothbrush. A wide elastic band can be used to help hold a toothbrush in a hand with a weak grip, or an electric or battery-operated toothbrush can make it easier to reach all surfaces of the teeth.
3. Keep the Mouth Moist
Dry mouth is a side effect of some illnesses and more than 500 medications, and lack of saliva is a common cause of tooth decay and gum disease. Drinking plenty of water, chewing sugarless gum, and sucking on sugarless hard candies can help keep your loved one’s mouth moist. If dry mouth continues to be a problem, talk to your loved one’s dentist about artificial saliva.
4. Take Care of Dentures
Dentures trap bits of food and can be a breeding ground for bacteria, but cleaning them daily can help reduce the bacteria. Over time, a senior’s gums change shape, especially if he or she gains or loses weight, and ill-fitting dentures may slip and irritate the gums. Make sure your loved one sees a dentist regularly to have the fit of his or her dentures checked.
Oftentimes, we do not appreciate a healthy set of teeth and gums while we have them. It’s never too early to help your loved one stay on top of hygiene and help prevent dental health complications, but you may not always be available to provide the care he or she needs. If your loved one needs assistance taking care of his or her teeth and gums, reach out to Home Care Assistance. With our hourly care in Westfield, you can enlist the services of a professional caregiver to help with personal grooming, mobility support, and shopping for nutritious foods. Call a Care Manager today at 908.450.9400 to find out more information and to schedule a free in-home consultation.