Having great dental health can have a positive effect on a senior’s overall health and great dental health starts with great dental hygiene habits. October is observed as Dental Hygiene Month to encourage people of all ages to continue and/or start healthy dental hygiene habits. Because elders often suffer from dry mouth as it is a side-effect of many different medications, they may need to pay more attention to their dental hygiene. Dry mouth can lead to dental problems including cavities, but good dental hygiene practices can lower your elder loved one’s risk of developing dental health problems. Read on for some dental hygiene tips that are great for your elder loved one to follow during the month of October and all throughout the year.
Get Regular Dental Check Ups
Encourage your loved one to stay up to date with their dentist visits, cleaning, and X-rays. These regular check ups are great for preventing dental health problems. If your loved one waits until their are pain or until they have tooth/mouth pain that is severe, more invasive treatments may be necessary and a lot of damage could have been done. Instead, make sure the dentist catches any problems right away so that they can be treated more effectively. A dentist can also help answer any of your loved one’s questions about dry mouth, pain, or other concerns. Be sure to have your loved one let the dentist know about all of the medications they are currently taking.
Clean Dentures Every Day
If your loved one uses dentures, they should be cleaned every day with cleaner that is made specifically for dentures. This prevents bacteria from forming on them.
Brush and Floss Every Day
If your loved one does not have full dentures, then brushing every day 2 times a day for 2 minutes each time is key. Brushing can help to eliminate bacteria on teeth with will then prevent cavities, tooth decay, tartar build up, gum disease, and more. Be sure that they use a toothpaste that contains fluoride and a soft bristle toothbrush. In addition to brushing, your loved one should also clean in between teeth once a day as well by flossing. If your loved one is using blood thinners, it is a good idea to ask a dentist or doctor how to proceed with flossing as bleeding gums can be problematic.