Senior Oral Health 101
Keeping up with your oral health is by far one of the most important aspects of your daily routine. Unfortunately, it is by far one of the most neglected.
When it comes to helping our loved ones with their oral health, one of the things that often get in the way of maintaining healthy gums and are…you guessed it, dentures!
Teeth can lose strength over time and break down, leading to a need for dentures and removal of their natural teeth. This may not be necessary for seniors who have gotten adequate dental care when they were younger. Nonetheless, it is critical for caregivers and their clients alike to realize just how important it is to maintain their dentures.
They require significant maintenance as they can lead to health issues and gum disease down the road. Here are a few facts and pointers about caring for dentures that will set your loved one on a healthier path:
1. Fit is everything
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to getting fitted with dentures, and it’s important to know that dentures need to be replaced and refitted every few years given that our bodies, jaw and gums change over time. If you notice your client moving away from certain foods that they used to enjoy, and ask for mashed potatoes and softer foods like yogurt for dinner instead of their usual favorite, it may be a sign that their dentures are becoming loose. To avoid malnutrition, always check in on how they’re feeling eating with their dentures.
2. Don’t just rely on dentist appointments
It’s imperative that you check in on your client or love one’s oral health, especially if they have dentures. Remind them to chew slower (especially if they were recently fitted), suggest adding extra adhesive if their dentures are loose (but don’t overdo it), and be sure to examine their mouth for sores or signs or irritation caused by the dentures. If you hear a clicking sound while they eat, they need repair.
3. Take care!
In addition to reminding a client to brush daily, (clean gums and a clean tongue is key to a healthy mouth) allow yourself to become more comfortable helping them providing care to their dentures as it will usually be one of your most responsibilities as a caregiver. Help your client brush their dentures every day with a soft brush designed for dentures, and encourage rinsing them off after eating (but never with hot water!) Never use regular toothpaste on dentures, as they may damage them, and be sure that you monitor that they are stored away in a cup of clean water at night. This keeps them moist!
Have you encountered any other ways or tips to help care for your loved one’s oral health? Comment below!