As people get older, sometimes they have more difficulty caring for their teeth and mouths. They may have cognitive problems, like dementia, that may cause them to forget how to brush their teeth. Or, arthritis may make it difficult to grip a toothbrush. As a result, older adults often neglect their oral health, leading to dental problems. If your aging relative is having difficulty taking care of their mouth, home care can help.
Oral Health Problems that Affect Seniors
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults who are disabled or homebound are at the greatest risk for developing oral health problems. Some of the problems they may experience are:
Tooth decay: One-fifth of older adults have tooth decay that has not been treated.
Gum disease: Around 68 percent of people over the age of 65 have gum disease.
Tooth Loss: One-fifth of older adults has lost all of their teeth. Tooth loss can affect the senior’s ability to eat and may cause nutritional problems.
Oral Cancer: Cancer in the mouth is most often diagnosed in people who are 62 or older.
Many older adults take multiple medications, some of which may impact their oral health. Some medicines cause dry mouth. A lack of saliva can cause tooth decay.
Ways Home Care Can Help
Having a home care provider to assist your parent with their daily grooming needs, including oral care, could help them to prevent oral health problems. Some of the ways a home care provider can help are:
Transportation to the Dentist: Older adults who are no longer able to drive may stop going to the dentist because they don’t want to ask others for a ride. A home care provider can help them to schedule an appointment and drive them to and from the appointment. They can also listen to the dentist’s advice with the senior and help them to follow the instructions.
Help Brushing: If the older adult can’t brush for themselves, a home care provider can assist them to hold the toothbrush or brush for them. For seniors with dementia, the home care provider can mimic the movements of brushing, so the senior can follow or give them step by step instructions.
Denture Care: Home care providers can assist older adults to clean and maintain their dentures. If they notice the senior is having difficulty with their dentures, they can let family caregivers know. Dentures occasionally need refitting because of changes in the senior’s mouth.
Good oral health is important at any age. Dental problems can impact the quality of life since they can cause pain and affect nutrition. If your aging relative is having problems, be sure to make an appointment with a dentist. Ask the senior’s home care provider to assist in following the dentist’s recommendations.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Health Care in Anaheim, CA, or the surrounding Orange County areas, please call us at 949-535-2211 or CLICK HERE to get more information We provide senior care services in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Woods, Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo and surrounding areas of Orange County California. Contact us today to learn more.