Thanks to modern dental solutions, more seniors are able to maintain the health of their natural teeth. However, being a senior comes with specific oral hygiene challenges. Here are a few ways seniors can find solutions for these hygiene issues, which range from dry mouth to root decay. To maintain good dental hygiene, older adults need to understand the oral health challenges that result from aging.
Treat Dry Mouth
One of the most common dental issues in the senior years is dry mouth. Many medications commonly prescribed for seniors reduce saliva production. Because saliva performs essential functions in the mouth, including enamel repair and bacteria removal, a lack of saliva makes seniors more susceptible to oral diseases. While medications are the most frequent culprit behind dry mouth, it can also be a result of the natural aging process.
If seniors experience dry mouth, they should start by looking at their prescription medicines. Ask the doctor for an adequate substitute if one of the medicines is known for causing dry mouth. If a senior’s dry mouth is a consequence of aging, it’s time to increase oral hydration. Older adults should drink plenty of water every day. Chewing sugar-free gum can also be helpful. Seniors with dry mouth should also avoid substances that cause dehydration, such as coffee.
Helping a senior maintain good dental hygiene can be challenging. If you’re the primary caregiver for a senior family member and you need respite care, Rhode Island Home Care Assistance is here to help. Our respite caregivers are trained to assist older adults with a wide variety of everyday tasks, including meal prep, physical activity, and personal hygiene. We also provide 24-hour care and specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.
As the teeth age, oral issues may start to emerge. Seniors may experience attrition as decades of use take a toll on even the most well-maintained teeth. If the enamel wears away, teeth are at greater risk for cavities. To prevent attrition and cavities, seniors should increase their daily fluoride intake and use toothpaste with fluoride. Older adults can also use a fluoride rinse after they brush.
Use the Right Mouthwash
Many of the oral issues seniors face are caused by excessive bacteria. To keep bacteria at a minimum, seniors should incorporate an antibacterial mouthwash into their daily routine to rid the mouth of harmful bacteria and prevent plaque buildup, which can cause cavities.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of homecare services families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Every senior should try to establish a healthy dental hygiene routine. Aging adults should brush their teeth twice a day and use an antibacterial mouthwash and fluoride rinse at least once a day. They should also floss every night to ensure their teeth are as clean as possible before going to sleep.
Seniors should get new toothbrushes every three months because the bristles can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Aging adults can also set phone alerts for when new toothbrushes are needed.
Know What Not to Do
With oral hygiene, knowing what to avoid is just as important as knowing what habits to adopt. Seniors should stop using tobacco products because they can have a major impact on oral health. Older adults should also cut back on sugary foods and beverages, as they can lead to cavities.
Maintaining good dental hygiene is just one of the many ways older adults can boost their quality of life and increase longevity. If you have a senior loved one who needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of at-home care Rhode Island families can rely on. All of our caregivers are bonded, licensed, and insured, there are no hidden fees, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts. If you need professional in-home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (401) 284-0979.