Oral hygiene is one of the most overlooked aspects of senior care. Older adults who don’t maintain good dental hygiene become susceptible to a wide variety of diseases. When providing elderly care, La Mesa family caregivers should consider the following tips on how to help their loved ones maintain good dental hygiene.
1. Teach Seniors How to Care for Oral Hygiene Appliances
Seniors often wear removable dental restorations that require special cleaning, such as dentures. However, there are several diseases that can limit the ability to clean dentures independently. Work with your loved one and the dentist to learn how to do things such as soak dentures or floss around a dental bridge so you are prepared to lend a helping hand when needed.
2. Set Hygiene Goals to Celebrate
Seniors who have been off track with their dental hygiene for a while often need help getting back into their routine. Set goals with your loved one to do things such as brush and floss every day for a week. You can use a calendar and mark off each successful time your loved one performs the routine. Once your loved one reaches the goal, celebrate with a special activity. Set increasingly challenging goals until your loved one has reached the optimum level of oral health.
3. Play Favorite Songs During Tooth Brushing Time
Even dentists admit brushing teeth gets boring. Make the activity interesting for your loved one by playing his or her favorite music. Since many songs fall within the two to three-minute range recommended for proper tooth brushing, you can use the music as a timer to signify when your loved one is done. While playing music is a fun way to put a new spin on dental hygiene, keep in mind music may affect your loved one’s mood. Choose something fun and upbeat for the morning, and switch to something more relaxing at night.
4. Address Physical Challenges
Your loved one may want to have good dental hygiene but faces several challenges on the way. Find out what your parent dislikes about brushing and flossing so you can look for solutions. For instance, water flossers are an alternative for cleaning between teeth when your loved one cannot work with normal string floss. Alternatively, your loved one may need a toothbrush that straps to his or her hand to overcome issues caused by hand tremors. Seniors can also develop sores in their mouths that make brushing painful. Seek treatment for oral health conditions that may impact your loved one’s ability to brush his or her teeth.
5. Ask About More Frequent Cleanings
Changes in your loved one’s oral health may require seeing the dentist more often. For instance, dry mouth allows plaque to build up, and your loved one may need to have more frequent cleanings to remove it. Ask the dentist if your loved one needs to be seen more often. Make sure your parent has transportation to the appointments so he or she benefits from professional dental care.
From brushing their teeth to managing basic housekeeping tasks, older adults may need help with a wide variety of activities. If your aging loved one requires assistance with daily tasks, turn to Coast Care Partners, a leading provider of elderly care La Mesa, CA, families can trust. Our caregivers can help your parent maintain good overall hygiene and make healthy lifestyle choices that boost longevity and stave off a wide variety of medical conditions. We also offer specialized dementia and Alzheimer’s home care. To create a customized in-home care plan for your aging loved one, give us a call at 619-354-2544 today.