Caregiver oral health

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.

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