Improving dental health improves overall health
But keeping your older adult’s mouth healthy is just as important as caring for the rest of their body. Dental health seriously affects overall physical health, nutrition, and well-being.
A healthy mouth helps seniors keep more of their natural teeth so it’s easier to eat, reduces the risk of pain and inflammation, and reduces risk of serious conditions like heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
To improve your older adult’s dental health, we’ve got 3 tips that make it easier to keep teeth and gums healthy.
3 tips for improving senior dental care
1. Get an electric toothbrush
Arthritis, hand tremors, or weakness can make it very difficult to brush teeth thoroughly.
To make it easier, have your older adult use an electric (automatic) toothbrush. Less hand strength and control are needed and it takes the work out of brushing. Some toothbrushes even have built-in timers so there’s no need to guess how long to brush.
- $20 Philips Sonicare Essence (rechargeable electric)
- $20 Oral-B Vitality Floss Action (rechargeable electric)
- $20 Oral-B Pro-Health Precision Clean (AA battery)
- $40 Oral-B PRO 1000 powered by Braun (rechargeable electric)
2. Brush or rinse after meals
Seniors tend to have less saliva because of medication side effects and the natural effects of aging.
After meals, trapped food particles can quickly become bacteria breeding grounds. Minimize bacteria in your older adult’s mouth by getting them into the habit of brushing (or at least rinsing) about 30 to 60 minutes after eating.
Fortunately, that’s most likely when they’ll need to use the toilet anyway.
3. Change to a salt water rinse
Using salt water to rinse the mouth instead of plain water is an effective way to improve dental health for seniors. Just add about a half teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water, stir, and rinse!
A salt water rinse increases the pH balance of the mouth. This makes it more difficult for bacteria to grow. It’s also less irritating to the mouth than a store-bought mouthwash – and cheaper too!
Recommended for you:
- How to Help Someone with Alzheimer’s Brush Their Teeth
- Why Do Seniors Lose Their Appetites?
- 5 Ways Caregiving Routines Make Your Life Easier
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: B&D Dental Excellence
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