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5 Common Oral Hygiene Concerns Among the Elderly

Today, older adults can expect to enjoy greater oral health than generations in the past. However, they still face challenges with oral hygiene that can be overcome with the right types of assistance.

1. Brushing Ineffectively Due to Limited Mobility

Arthritis and other conditions that affect mobility make it harder for seniors to reach certain areas of their mouths, placing them at greater risk for gum disease and cavities between the teeth. Special toothbrushes, water flossers, and other devices can all help your senior loved one reach those challenging areas.

2. Developing Dry Mouth

Saliva plays an important role in helping break down food and rinse away plaque. Dry mouth can be caused by a variety of different health conditions and medications that are common during the senior years. Encourage your loved one to drink water throughout the day, and the dentist can prescribe special oral moistening products to combat dry mouth.

3. Forgetting to Brush

Memory loss during the senior years can make even the most meticulous older adult forget his or her oral hygiene routine. By the evening, many seniors are tired, and they might not remember to brush their teeth. Setting an alarm or having a North Coast in-home care professional provide a reminder makes it easier to ensure your loved one’s nightly brushing gets accomplished.

4. Visiting the Dentist

Cognitive decline can also pose a problem for seniors who cannot describe their symptoms to a dentist or caregiver. Some seniors may also begin to express a fear of going to the dentist due to the noises or a bad experience in the past. Having a trusted companion accompany your loved one to the dentist provides a way to help him or her communicate effectively while calming his or her fears.

5. Cleaning Prosthetic Devices

Dentures and bridges are harder to clean than natural teeth, and some seniors have a difficult time getting them completely clean, which can lead to mouth sores and gum disease if food is allowed to build up over time. You loved one can use special brushes designed to fit between tight spaces, and North Coast caregivers should always be willing to lend a hand with removing and replacing difficult prosthetics.

If your loved one needs help with oral hygiene and other grooming tasks, reach out to the caregivers at Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can also prepare nutritious meals, provide transportation, and assist with bathing, dressing, and various other daily tasks. For more information on respite and live-in home care North Coast, NSW, seniors can rely on, call one of our qualified Care Managers at 1300 LIVE-IN or (02) 6646 3527 to schedule a free in-home consultation.