As people get older, it’s not uncommon for certain aspects of daily life to fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, proper dental care is one of the major elements of personal hygiene and health that is sometimes avoided or ignored by many older adults. Dental health is ultimately linked to whole-body wellness and health, that’s why it’s vitally important that we educate older adults about this issue and find ways to remind them or help them maintain proper oral care.
Whether the person lives in a senior living community or chooses to age at home, there are many factors that can contribute to poor dental hygiene and care. Simply remembering to keep up with a hygiene regimen can be difficult, and this is compounded by other issues.
How to improve senior dental care
Almost everyone knows that brushing and flossing after meals or at least twice a day positively impacts our oral health, but there are other ways to maintain proper oral health. Here are some useful tips from the American Dental Association:
- Remind your loved one to brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. A soft, electric toothbrush may make dental hygiene easier.
If your parent is forgetful, help them set reminders. If you’re caring for someone who can’t maintain good dental health, it’s important to ensure their mouth and teeth are clean.
- Remind your parent to floss regularly. Flossing daily helps prevent plaque and gum disease. If your loved one has problems flossing, talk to the dentist about other tools or techniques that may help.
- Keep dentures clean. Remind your parent to clean their full or partial dentures daily and to remove them at night.
- Schedule regular dentist visits. Regular appointments can help prevent dental problems and keep teeth healthy. The American Dental Association recommends seeing the dentist at least once a year for cleaning and a check-up.
- Tell the dentist about medical conditions and medications your loved one takes. If dry mouth is a problem, the dentist may be able to offer strategies to help relieve it.
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes dairy and high-fiber foods.
Poor dental health and hygiene could be a sign your loved one needs help with daily living. JCAH is ready to assist with grooming, dressing, medication management, and more.