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The Importance of Oral Health for the Elderly

By admin, 8:00 am on

As many of us know, oral health is one indicator of overall health. Bad oral health could point to more serious ailments such as diabetes and heart disease while tooth loss could be an indicator for osteoporosis or Alzheimer’s disease. This is why it’s important to keep track of any changes in oral health and to set up a maintainable cleaning schedule that aging adults or their caregivers can do at home.

Excellent oral hygiene and frequent dental checkups are essential to maintaining oral health. There are no short cuts to perfect dental health, but the basics are easy to follow. Obeying these rules may take fifteen minutes out of your day, but ignoring them could result in a future filled with painful, tedious and expensive corrective procedures.

To keep your teeth and gums in a clean and healthy state while avoiding plaque build-up, reducing stains, and preventing the advancement of gum disease, include the following measures into your daily personal care routine:

  • Switch to an electric toothbrush with an automatic timer.
  • Gently brush teeth after every meal.
  • Following your last snack of the day: first brush teeth, then floss, next go around each tooth with a rubber-tipped gum massager and finally, thread a soft-bristled “proxy” brush between each tooth to remove every last bit of debris.
  • Follow up your evening ritual by rinsing with a standard mouthwash or a medicated mouthwash, whichever your dental hygienist recommends.

For seniors who may struggle with personal care such as tooth brushing, bathing and dressing, this extensive daily cleaning process may seem overwhelming. Families may want to consider help from a home health care agency as personal care activities such as tooth brushing can be made easier with help from an in-home Palm Beach County caregiver.

Two cleanings a year are recommended for older adults, one of which should be a thorough check up complete with x-rays. Dental cleanings don’t need to be unpleasant. Modern hygienists use quick and relatively painless air devices to clean and polish tooth surfaces. However, if your teeth are particularly sensitive, you may request a nerve deadening shot prior to deep cleanings to nullify the pain. Another advantage to multiple cleanings is that your hygienist may spot and alert you to small tooth and gum problems before they become issues.

If you or an aging loved one need help maintaining daily hygiene and grooming, contact the leading Palm Beach County at-home care provider, Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are available to help with a variety of senior care needs, all within the comfort of home. Request more information or a free in-home consultation by calling 561-429-8292 today.