The senior years are full of challenges that can interfere with the ability to care for teeth and gums. While the risk of tooth decay and gum disease increases with age, seniors can take action now to prevent oral health issues.
Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality senior care. Naples families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. As a caregiver, you can help your loved one prevent painful dental problems by using these five simple oral hygiene tips.
1. Limit Sugary Drinks
A person’s sense of taste begins to diminish in the senior years, which is why many seniors love sweet tea and other sugary drinks. However, sugary drinks send acids into the mouth that are responsible for the enamel erosion that leads to sensitivity and decay. Seniors should also limit their alcohol intake since wine and liquor are also full of sugar.
2. Use Assistive Devices
Seniors with arthritis or a weak grip sometimes have difficulty brushing their teeth effectively. Look for special devices that can help your loved one hold the toothbrush such as a special strap that goes around the brush and the whole hand. Electronic toothbrushes also help seniors brush in circular motions when they have limited hand mobility. Water flossers also help seniors clean those tricky spaces between teeth that tend to trap food particles and plaque.
3. Keep Up with Exams and Cleanings
Many seniors don’t have transportation for their dental appointments. Make sure your loved one has a safe and reliable way to get to dental exams. This way, he or she can benefit from a thorough cleaning, and small problems can be caught early when they are more manageable.
Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Naples seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
4. Eat Nutritious Foods
Celery is sometimes referred to as nature’s toothbrush because it helps remove tartar from the teeth. Seniors can boost their oral health by adding vegetables, lean meat, and nutrients such as calcium to their diets to keep their teeth strong. Eating a healthy diet also means seniors are less likely to eat junk food associated with tooth decay.
5. Set a Timer
Alarms are wonderful tools for helping seniors stay on track with their daily routine, and it is easy for older adults to forget to brush their teeth on busy days. Seniors can set an alarm on their watch, or they can use a motion-activated system to remind them to brush when they enter the bathroom. They can also set a timer to make sure they brush for the full two minutes it takes to really clean teeth, or they can brush to their favorite song to make oral hygiene a little more fun.
Seniors with Alzheimer’s or other forms of cognitive decline may find it difficult to brush daily. Such seniors may need a daily routine and plenty of encouragement and assistance from family members to make healthy lifestyle choices such as brushing twice a day. If your elderly loved one is living with Alzheimer’s and needs help managing the symptoms, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care. Naples seniors can rely on our revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program that helps slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. CTM also encourages seniors to engage with others in an enjoyable way and helps them build new routines to look forward to. To learn about CTM or hire a dedicated caregiver for your aging loved one, call us today at (239) 449-4701.