How to Protect the Dental Health of Your Elderly Loved Ones

There are so many reasons why you should be concerned about the dental health of any senior in your home. Some illnesses make it hard for one to perform regular dental care tasks such as brushing and flossing their teeth. If your loved one doesn't have anyone to help them, they may never clean their teeth. Also, it may be hard for elderly individuals to develop a dental care routine and follow through, especially if they tend to be forgetful. That's why, as a caregiver or family member, you should strive to maintain the dental health of your loved one and protect them from struggling with dental issues.

Develop a routine

The first step is to establish a dental care routine that involves brushing the teeth in the morning and after every meal. If your loved one suffers from dementia, you may want to help them follow through with this routine. Don't leave them to do it alone. You can make dental care simple by being there to give them their toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss. However, note that some seniors lack the dexterity to properly hold a toothbrush and slide it firmly across the teeth. In this case, you can consider investing in an electric toothbrush which is easier to use and will get the job done. Also, provide a floss holder or oral irrigator as these are more convenient as compared to the traditional dental floss.

Clean dentures regularly

If your loved one has full or partial dentures, you need to ensure that cleaning them is part of the dental routine. Dentures should be cleaned at least once a day to get rid of food particles and keep bad bacteria away. You can help your loved one clean their dentures and store them in a jar of water every night to prevent damage. All you need is a pair of gloves and a denture cleaning kit. Ensure that your loved one never goes to bed with the restorations as this can encourage dental problems such as gum disease and mouth sores.

Check their medication

As aforementioned, some drugs that are taken by seniors can have side effects on the dental health as well. For example, drugs used to treat allergies and hypertension can cause dry mouth. If your loved one is under medication, check the side effects listed on the leaflet. This will help you to look out for and prevent dental problems. If a drug is causing dry mouth, ensure that your loved one consumes a lot of water and other fluids during the day to keep the mouth hydrated.

Finally, take your loved for regular dental visits so that the dentist can examine their health and make the necessary recommendations to maintain or improve it.