Elderly Health Care Alert: Make Dental Care A Priority


Dental care is a vital yet overlooked part of elderly health care success.  Changes to your parent's mobility or mental clarity can make routine caregiver,caregiving, elderly health care,  senior caredental care difficult. Many families don't know about the strong link between good dental health and improved health care.  Not having access to routine dental care can make your parent at risk for serious elderly health care issues.

Elderly health care - risks of poor dental hygiene:

  • Inflammation from gum disease that increases cardiac risk factors
  • Bacteria from diseased gums being drawn into the lungs and causing pneumonia
  • Poor nutrition from dental pain or tooth loss makes eating fruits and vegetables more difficult
  • Undiagnosed oral cancers

Day to day oral care

Dental care problems start with inadequate daily oral care.  Memory issues, lack of energy and limited mobility are elder care challenges that may make brushing and flossing difficult.  An electric toothbrush can be a useful senior care tool, cleaning your parent's teeth better with less time and effort. A floss holder can be used if your parent has difficulty wrapping floss around her fingers.  Use a floss holder if your caregiving routine includes helping your parent floss.

Be vigilant if your parent lives in a senior care community and requires assistance with basic grooming skills.  Requests to replace your parent's toothbrush, provide more toothpaste and floss are signs that caregivers are providing daily dental care. Make sure you stress daily dental care as an elderly health care priority during care plan meetings.

Regular cleanings and check ups

Your parent's elderly health care routine should include regular dental cleanings and check ups.  Increased awareness of the elderly health care risks of poor dental care has led to the mobile dental practices that provide care at home and in senior care communities.

Special memory care issues

Dementia suffers face greater risks of elderly health care decline from dental issues.  Dementia patients often cannot follow the dentist's instructions. They may resist caregivers trying to assist with brushing and flossing.

Find a dentist who is works with handicapped people and offers sedation dentistry. Get a full dental checkup as soon as you notice memory issues. Provide step-by-step caregiving guidance when assisting your parent with basic daily dental care. Encourage drinking water to clean out the mouth after meals.

Has poor dental care caused elderly health care issues for your parent?

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--Janice Wallace