As people age, even if they have few of their original teeth remaining, it’s important to continue with proper oral care practices and to have regular visits to the dentist to ensure a healthy mouth, teeth and gums. Proper oral hygiene greatly contributes to overall health, so in order to ensure the healthiest life possible for seniors we need to do whatever it takes to see that they get the oral care that they need whether the care gets self administered or comes via the help of a home health aid or home nurse.
There are several things that come with age that may put us at greater risk for tooth decay and other dental problems: receding gums can expose more of the tooth and lead to the possibility of decay around the root if proper cleaning isn’t performed; an unbalanced diet can lead to issues with the strength of remaining teeth and the health of the gums; some medications seniors take regularly can contribute to the possibility of tooth decay and conditions like arthritis that are common among seniors can affect the ability to properly brush and floss.
Getting the right nutrients from the proper diet is crucial to your oral health, but the biggest part of the equation may be the ability to effectively clean the teeth and gums. Many seniors have physical constraints that prevent them from comfortably performing the tasks that younger people take for granted like daily brushing and flossing.
There are a number of ways that we can manipulate a toothbrush to make it have a heftier or longer grip so that it is easier for a senior to hold onto and there are a number of battery powered or electric toothbrushes and flossing aids available that reduce the strain associated with daily cleaning. For seniors who are under the care of a home health aid and are becoming incapable of performing daily cleanings and flossing, assistance with oral hygiene is generally available to ensure the best possible health.