Oral Health and Caregivers
November is National Family Caregivers Month
Always make time for senior oral health care
When an older adult enters a long-term care facility, family members and caregivers need to make sure oral hygiene remains a priority.
Good oral health is essential to overall health.
- Maintaining a healthy mouth helps seniors eat properly and sleep well.
- Removing plaque from teeth before it can enter the bloodstream lowers the risk of blood clots, hardening of the arteries and blood sugar problems.
- Improving oral hygiene reduces the chances of getting pneumonia or dying from it.
If you’re a caregiver, consider compiling an oral health history on older adults you assist. Consider questions like:
- Does the adult wear dentures, and what kind?
- Who is the family dentist?
- When was the senior’s last dental checkup?
- What oral health routines have worked at home with the senior’s family members?
And as a caregiver, consider these tips when assisting an older adult with oral health:
- Always wash hands thoroughly.
- Brush and floss the senior’s teeth every day.
- Dentures should be cleaned daily and removed each night.
- Help seniors avoid dry mouth. Hundreds of medications can reduce the flow of saliva, increasing the risk of tooth decay.
- Check the patient’s mouth for any broken teeth or sores, blisters or lumps.
This information is available for download as an oral health flyer.