At Vital Home Health Services, our registered carers visit lots of seniors in their homes to offer physical support, health advice and a willing ear.
Many seniors tell us about issues they are experiencing with their teeth or gums. Ageing bodies do not want to have problems of any kind, and definitely in the mouth, which can impact eating, drinking, and speaking.
Here, we share our tips about optimum oral hygiene for elderly people and keeping mouths in the best condition.
Table of Contents:
Why is oral health care for the elderly so important?
Oral Health for seniors is extremely important to overall health and well-being. Practising oral hygiene regularly does more than keep mouths in good shape, it minimises the risk of multiple diseases and chronic conditions elderly people are more susceptible to, such as diabetes and heart disease.
However, oral health care is not just about the teeth and gums; it also includes the health of the bones and muscles in our mouths. Basic oral hygiene in elderly goes beyond brushing, flossing and a mouthwash. The nutrients we take from food impacts more than our oral health but our entire bodies. In other words, what goes into our mouths matters!
Eating a balanced diet and partaking in daily oral hygiene are proven to be the best ways to achieve good oral health. Not only in helping prevent diseases, but in helping boost physical and emotional confidence too.
Let’s look at our top tips for managing oral health in your senior years.
Throughout our lives, we will consume thousands if not millions of food and drink items as part of our diet – some healthier than others!
Of course, it’s critical to think about what we eat and drink as we get older, and the emphasis on staying healthy increases. Yet, this is not only advisable for general health of our body and mind, but it matters to our mouths too. Certain food and drink plays havoc on our oral health and can quickly lead to problems if not kept to a minimum.
When it comes to diet, we recommend the following to our aged care customers:
- Drink plenty of water EVERY DAY
- Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks
- Choose healthy snacks, e.g. fruits and vegetables
Oral Hygiene Tips
Most of us know how important it is to brush our teeth. Yet it is not only the teeth in need of brushing but the area around our teeth too. Particularly for seniors with their own teeth or dentures, practising a full oral hygiene procedure in the mouth lowers the risk of gum disease and other chronic conditions.
Here is our recommended daily oral hygiene procedure in aged care:
- Brush and floss your teeth or dentures at least twice a day
- Gently brush all sides of your teeth or dentures with a soft-bristled brush using circular and short back-and-forth strokes
- Brush your gums, tongue and palate every morning before inserting your dentures to stimulate circulation and help to remove plaque
- Fluoride mouth rinses can be effective in removing decay; use a mouthwash daily where possible
Caring for Dentures
Not every senior ends up with dentures in place of their original teeth. That said, many will choose to have dentures later in life as a more comfortable option to living with gaps in the mouth caused by missing teeth.
Just as you would care for your original teeth, dentures require care to keep them healthy. They also need to work effectively or they risk causing your mouth other problems.
Here are some tips to help you live with dentures:
- Your dentures should be clean, well-fitting and fully intact
- Place your dentures in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in plain water when you’re not wearing them
- Never soak dentures in hot water, as it can cause them damage
- Have an oral specialist review your dentures regularly
- If dentures break, chip, crack or become loose, do not readjust them – see your dental prosthetist
Getting the best oral hygiene in aged care
Our professional carers are trained to provide seniors in their homes with physical support to live their lives comfortably. While we are able to give advice about general health – including oral hygiene for elderly – our team always points patients towards the relevant specialist if they have a specific problem.
It is recommended to patients that they visit a dentist regularly for check-ups. Depending on their personal oral health needs, some may need to visit frequently.
Just to finish, it goes without saying how badly smoking impacts the body for the worse. By quitting smoking, patients can improve both their general health and oral health. If you are an elderly smoker and need support to help you quit for good, speak with your carer or a GP as soon as possible.
As a long-time health care provider, Vital Home Health Services understands how critical it is to look after your oral health during the senior years.
Our highly professional and experienced Registered Nurses have worked with patients in the public and private health sectors, and are experts in supporting seniors in the home.
If you would like to discuss your home health nursing care needs, or have a question about oral health you would like to ask, contact one of our friendly team today.