Dental Health Tips for the Elderly

By Doris Kasold, 9:00 am on

The natural process of aging puts seniors at risk for several oral conditions. While these conditions are common among the elderly, most of them are preventable or easily diminished by taking a few proactive steps. Presented by a leading provider of senior home care in Tampa, these tips can help maintain elderly oral health.

1. Regular Dental Visits
The best way to maintain senior oral health is to keep regular dental exams and cleanings. While the fluoride in most drinking water combined with dental education have made it increasingly common for seniors to maintain healthy teeth, for others, limited mobility can make it difficult to properly clean their teeth. Difficulty reaching the hind teeth or brushing consistently for several minutes can lead to the accumulation of plaque and tartar. Encourage your loved one to visit the dental hygienist every three months to help maintain his or her dental health and reduce the risk of teeth and gum disease.

2. Daily Regimen
The American Dental Association recommends brushing teeth twice a day and flossing and rinsing with antibacterial solutions at least one time a day. For older adults, the regimen should consist of more frequent brushing and rinsing the mouth before and after brushing. Rinsing the mouth before brushing will loosen plaque and help remove debris, and rinsing after brushing can eliminate substantial amounts of bacteria, as well as dislodged pieces of food that are still in the mouth. Encourage your loved one to rinse for about a minute to achieve the best results.

3. Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
For some seniors, chronic dry mouth is a concern. With the absence of saliva, tooth decay can develop faster, sometimes leading to premature tooth loss. Routine tooth brushing, flossing, and rinsing with saliva-producing solutions will keep the mouth moist and free of debris. To help your loved one avoid dry mouth, have a part-time caregiver in Tampa remind him or her to go through his or her oral care regimen after every meal.

4. Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks
As with younger individuals, sugary snacks and drinks are often the source of cavities. Help your loved one reduce his or her sugar intake to small and infrequent amounts. Particularly because the elderly develop cavities faster than other populations as a result of decreased immune systems and the side effects of medications, it’s important for your loved one to keep his or her teeth free from decay-causing sugars.

If your elderly loved one experiences difficulty taking care of his or her own teeth because of limited mobility, a professional caregiver from Home Care Assistance may be able to help. Our highly trained caregivers can provide assistance with a range of daily tasks, including personal grooming needs, like dental care. If your loved one has Parkinson’s disease or another condition that makes physical tasks more difficult, a Tampa Parkinson’s caregiver can also provide assistance with activities like navigating the home, cooking, cleaning, and transportation. Reach out to a knowledgeable Care Manager at 727-330-7862 and schedule a free no-obligation consultation to learn more.

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