Oral health is hugely important to overall health. Whether your elderly family member has had issues with oral health in the past or not, now is definitely the time to pay close attention to what’s going on with her mouth and teeth.
One of the biggest things your senior can do to keep up with her oral health is to make sure she’s continuing to go to her dentist regularly. Depending on her existing dental health needs, her dentist may want to see her more or less frequently than every six months. This is true even if your senior has full dentures. Her dentist can spot oral health issues quickly and also help you put together a plan to manage them.
Someone else that your elderly family member needs to talk to about her oral health could be her doctor. Her doctor can help her to figure out if medications or health issues are possibly contributing to any of her oral health concerns. There may be some small changes her doctor can make that assist with the plan your senor’s dentist is putting together.
Even with all of these steps, simple brushing and flossing are still vital. This is important even if your elderly family member wears full or partial dentures. A quick brush after meals and snacks helps to ensure that there’s nothing caught in your senior’s teeth or mouth that can become an irritant for her later on. Some aging adults aren’t keen on the idea of brushing at all, sometimes because of sensory issues, sometimes because it’s painful. Try to figure out what’s causing your senior’s issues so you can help her to solve them.
Your senior needs the right tools for oral health management. Soft-bristled brushes are best and they do need to be replaced at least every three months or so. Dental floss, especially waxed varieties, can be helpful, but so can water flossing devices. If your senior has dentures, make sure that she has a denture brush. Even the softest toothbrush is too harsh for dentures. Talk to her dentist about what else she might need.
It’s not always easy for seniors to accept help from someone else in order to manage their teeth and mouth. Something that might help is to bring in-home care providers. They can make this task easier for both you and your senior.