A prior article discussed aging and why it is important to maintain dental health as we grow older. The issue is complicated when the oral hygiene must come from a caregiver, due to the elderly person’s limitations. The Placerville Dental Group knows this isn’t easy, especially if you are caring for a spouse, parent or other loved one. How can you help them them have good oral health?
Put simply, there are two important steps: 1) Remind your loved one to brush and floss every day and make sure they get to the dentist at least twice a year for a check-up to prevent harmful dental problems. What if they have trouble brushing and flossing on their own? The following helpful dental tips for caregivers come from the NIDCR (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research):
- Beware of medication side effects, especially dry mouth. Persistent dry mouth contributes to tooth decay and gum problems. Consult with the doctor on whether to change the medication or dosage.
- Make sure your loved one stays hydrated with water. Staying hydrated is good for their mouth, and their body.
- Avoid foods and beverages that irritate dry mouths, like coffee, alcohol, carbonated soft drinks, and acidic fruit juices. Limiting these beverages also reduces risk of acid erosion on teeth.
- Utilize helpful dental tools like electric toothbrushes and dental flossers with handles. Besides brushing efficiently for them, electric toothbrushes tend to have larger handles that are easy to grasp, and a regular toothbrush may be modified to make it easier to hold.
- Ask our dentists to apply fluoride varnish at each cleaning to help protect teeth.
- If the person you are caring for has dentures, make sure they remove them and clean them nightly.
The Placerville Dental Group cares for patients of all ages. Each stage of life has it’s own challenges, and our caring dental staff is here to offer suggestions and tips to keep the whole family healthy. Let us help by calling today, asking for an appointment online or stop by our downtown Placerville dental clinic.