For seniors, practicing good dental hygiene may become more and more difficult as they age. A lot of times elderly men and women lose their teeth simply because they cannot take care of them anymore. Here are a few factors that make it harder for older men and women to clean their teeth:
- Memory – It’s true that our memories begin to slip a bit as we age, but this factor is aimed more towards mild forms of dementia. Even if a person had good oral hygiene practices in the past, a disease like Alzheimer’s can wipe away a person’s daily routine as well as memory.
- Dexterity – Conditions like arthritis can limit the ability of an elderly person to clean his or her teeth. They may not be able to hold a toothbrush properly, or may have trouble with the brushing motion itself.
- False teeth – When an older person loses his or her teeth, they may replace them with dentures or artificial teeth. This may cause them to neglect their oral hygiene, as the thought (although inaccurate) is that they only have to clean the dentures, rather than other parts of the mouth like the gums.
If you have noticed that your elderly loved one has had trouble with one or more than one of the items above keep reading for a few solutions:
- If the senior in your life has trouble remembering how to brush or when they should brush, hiring a home care assistant to help remind them or teach them how can be a great deal of help to you. This is especially true if you are the sole caregiver, as seeing your mother, father or relative exhibit qualities that they never exhibited before can be quite shocking and stressful.
- If you notice that your senior has trouble handling a toothbrush because of arthritis or a similar affliction, try attaching a large grip onto the handle like a bicycle handle. Another solution to this problem is to use an electric toothbrush, as the brushing motion is different from a standard toothbrush. Electric brushes also do a much better job of cleaning away plaque and other debris from hard to reach areas.
- If your elderly loved one can’t seem to get around to cleaning their dentures, a home health care aide can help do this for them. They can also help clean the gum area of older patients to help prevent further decay and discomfort.
By hiring a qualified, trusted home care assistant, you can avoid many common pitfalls when it comes to dental hygiene. The home care aide will be able to remind your loved one to brush his or her teeth if they have memory issues, or coach them on how to properly clean their dentures or remaining teeth.
These aides can also help keep up with important medications that seniors may forget to take on a daily basis, help remind them to bathe themselves and even help out with this process if needed.
Tooth and gum diseases can be serious business, so make sure that your senior loved one is taking care of his or her teeth, so that they can continue living life to its fullest.
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