If you are the caregiver of a loved one at home, the tasks can seem endless. Medication management, doctor's appointments, meal planning, shopping, and much more can feel overwhelming. Unfortunately, very busy caregivers can forget to attend to their loved one's dental health. Read on for some tips to keep things healthy when it comes to dental issues.
Watch for Dental Problems
If your loved one is complaining about pain or discomfort in the mouth area, chances are there is a dental problem. Dental pain should not be ignored because small things can become far worse when it affects a vulnerable population. Ask your loved one about their dental health regularly and stay on top of things.
Some older or disabled people that are not verbal may only show signs of a problem when their appetite suddenly worsens. If your loved one is not eating as much as they usually do, suspect an issue with their teeth or dentures along with all the other possible causes.
Help Them with Dental Hygiene
If your loved one has problems holding a toothbrush or is not able to use a sink, assist them by using a pan and water to brush their teeth or to clean their dentures. Be gentle as you brush and floss since gums may be more sensitive and vulnerable to bleeding and irritation. Brush for at least several minutes using a soft brush at least two times a day. Fluoride toothpaste is recommended. If they wear dentures, remove them nightly and place them in water overnight.
Schedule Regular Dental Appointments
Older adults with memory problems may be unable to remember to make or to keep regular dental appointments and these should not be skipped. In some cases, at-home care or care in a facility can be arranged for those unable to be transported. These visits help assure your loved one's dental health with a professional cleaning and a thorough examination to detect decay, damaged teeth, gum diseases, and more.
Watch What They Eat
Sugary foods and drinks can produce problems in the mouth even if they don't affect the loved one's blood sugar or weight. Bacteria can grow rapidly when sugar and carbohydrates are allowed to sit on the teeth. Be especially careful about them consuming sugary food and drinks prior to bedtime.
Medications, some medical conditions, and aging all can contribute to a dry mouth. Use an over-the-counter spray or rinse to alleviate the dryness or provide your loved one with ice chips (very fine ice chips only).
Problems with dental health can transform into a body-wide problem if left untreated. Pay attention to your loved one's dental health and improve their overall health outlook at the same time.
Contact family dentistry services in your area for more information.