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How to Prevent Dental Issues in the Elderly

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Many people associate cavities with children, but your senior loved one can encounter a wide variety of dental concerns as he or she enters the golden years. Fortunately, many dental issues in the elderly can be prevented by taking measures to minimize the effects changing health conditions can have on oral health. Naples senior care experts suggest these preventive care tips.

Address Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a side effect of many medications prescribed to seniors, and the lack of saliva can allow cavity-causing bacteria to build up fast. Your loved one should be encouraged to stay hydrated, and he or she may need a special mouthwash designed for dry mouth. It is also important for your loved one to stay away from salty food and beverages such as alcohol and caffeine that could lead to dehydration. 

Screen for Oral Cancer

Cancer of the lips, cheeks, and tongue is more likely to occur after the age of 62, and it can be hard to spot in its early stages. Seniors who smoke or consume more than a moderate of alcohol will need to quit to minimize their risk. Your loved one’s dentist or another professional should screen him or her twice a year for oral cancer.

Be Alert for Signs of Hygiene Needs

Certain health conditions can make it hard for a senior to brush and floss correctly on a regular schedule. For example, severe arthritis or Parkinson’s may pose challenges with reaching into the mouth for flossing or holding the toothbrush properly. A senior with dementia may forget to brush his or her teeth. Reports of high plaque from the dentist or frequent cavities could both be signs your loved one needs assistance with his or her daily routine. A dementia or Parkinson’s caregiver in Naples can help your loved one maintain such a routine.

Replace Missing Teeth

Dentures, implants, and bridges are not only for making a pretty smile. These tooth replacements serve an important purpose by preventing other teeth from shifting or bearing a larger load during chewing. If your loved one loses a tooth, it is important to talk about restoration options to prevent further damage to his or her smile.

One of the best ways to keep your loved one happy and healthy is preventing any health complications before they have the chance to develop. However, this can be difficult to achieve without the right help. If your loved one needs assistance maintaining regular hygiene routines, consider a Naples live-in home caregiver from Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can help with all aspects of grooming and assist with a wide array of other daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and exercise. We also offer part-time care for seniors who only need assistance a few hours a day or a few days a week. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at (239) 449-4701 to schedule a free in-home consultation.

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