Improving dental health improves overall health
But keeping their mouth healthy is just as important as caring for the rest of their body because 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, pneumonia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
To improve your older adult’s dental health, we share 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.
- $16 Oral-B Pro-Health Clinical (AA battery)
- $35 Oral-B Vitality FlossAction Powered by Braun (rechargeable electric)
- $50 Philips Sonicare 4100 Power Toothbrush (rechargeable electric)
- $50 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.
And 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 (not immediately after the meal).
For many people, that’s about the time they’ll need to use the toilet, so they can take care of two tasks with one trip to the bathroom.
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.
A salt water rinse increases the pH balance of the mouth. This makes it more difficult for bacteria to grow.
Just add about a half teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water, stir, and use as a mouth rinse.
It’s also less irritating to the mouth than a store-bought mouthwash – and cheaper too!
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By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: B&D Dental Excellence
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