Elder Care Observances: Dental Hygiene Month

Senior Care in Barrington, IL

Senior-Care-in-Barrington-ILOne of the very first things that most people teach their children about taking care of themselves is how to brush their teeth. Many mothers even bring their little babies into the bathroom to massage their gums and clean their mouths with little fingertip brushes to keep their mouths healthy and promote strong teeth. As they get older, these children graduate to brushing their own teeth, and eventually to doing the entire process of brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash to keep their mouths strong and healthy.

For many people, however, this dedication to dental health wanes somewhat as they get older and become adults. This can lead to a variety of health concerns, including increased risk of infection, heart disease, digestive problems, kidney and liver problems, and bone loss. This October, make reclaiming your parents’ dental health and protecting the health of their entire body an important part of your elder care plan by observing Dental Hygiene Month.

This month-long observation is the perfect opportunity for you to educate yourself about the importance of taking care of your parents’ dental health, effective strategies for supporting this health, and how you can handle dental health challenges in seniors with particular cognitive, physical, or medical challenges.

Use these tips, and share them with your aging loved ones’ elderly health care services provider, to help your parents enjoy better dental health during Dental Hygiene Month and throughout the rest of the year:

• Visit the dentist. Get started on your new focus on dental hygiene with a visit to the dentist for an examination and cleaning. This examination lets you identify any current risks your seniors are facing and gives you a good idea of measures you need to take to reclaim and continue their dental health. The cleaning gives you a great foundation of clean so you can maintain it through your care efforts.

• Brush correctly. Most people take brushing their teeth for granted, just assuming that they are doing it correctly when they might actually be missing important steps. Proper brushing involves using a circular motion to “polish” the surfaces of the teeth and brushing the fronts, tops, and backs of the teeth, including the furthest points at the back of the teeth. Brushing should last two minutes and include pressure sufficient to clean the teeth but not so hard to cause discomfort, pain, or gum bleeding.

• Floss regularly. Flossing removes particles and bacteria from between the teeth to reduce the chances of decay and infection. If flossing is difficult for your seniors, consider flossers with plastic handles rather than loose floss, or a water flosser.

• Use mouthwash. Mouthwash is a great way to finish off your parents’ teeth brushing routine. This wash kills germs, removes residual particles, and provides a certain level of protection. Use this step with caution if your seniors have cognitive limitations or swallowing problems. You do not want your seniors to swallow mouthwash and it is better to skip this step than to put them at risk of swallowing.

• Notice problems. Pay close attention to your parents’ behaviors so you can detect any potential issues such as persistent bad breath, tooth damage, sudden tooth decay, abscesses, or loose teeth. If you notice any of these problems, get in touch with their dentist to discuss the issues and find a resolution.

The caregivers at Smile and Love, LLC. are available to talk with you and your family about all of your elder care needs. Smile and Love, LLC. is an elder care agency providing quality and affordable home care in Glenview, IL and the surrounding areas. Call (847) 380-7378 for more information.