In our first blog in our series entitled “Always a Lady”, on the subject of beauty care for your elderly loved one we covered Hair and Skin. This time we will look at the care of her Teeth.
What a beautiful expression! Particularly with regard to a lady. That is why it is so important to look after her teeth. Let us begin by assuming that you’re elderly loved one still has her own teeth. We will address the care of dentures further down.
Most of us grow up knowing that we need to brush our teeth at least twice a day. That is because eating leaves particles of food on our teeth and gums. Therefore, as the food decomposes bacteria can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Also, acid in certain foods,such as citrus are detrimental to teeth enamel.
It is important to brush the front and back of her teeth. Two to three minutes will suffice. Gentle regular brushing, no aggressiveness. Don’t forget a gentle brush of the tongue as well. Dental floss is very helpful to remove food in between the teeth. However, great care must be taken with an elderly person. That’s why it’s important to be gentle so as not to hurt her or cause bleeding. It is better to rinse twice rather than once with water. Remember too that mouthwashes are effective in killing bacteria. What’s more they leave a pleasant taste in the mouth. And they are a great help in eliminating bad breath.
Choosing the correct toothbrush is very important. That’s why it is better to pay a bit more for a good brand. Always buy a soft toothbrush. Finally, replace her toothbrush as soon as the bristles begin to lose their shape. No later than three months.
If your elderly loved one has dentures, you probably already know how to care for them. The obvious point is that they must be removed to clean them. However, it is important to clean them every day. Otherwise your elderly loved one could suffer from halitosis and a bad taste in her mouth. Staining will make dentures look old. Also, taking care of them will ensure they last longer and they are an expensive item.
Here are some further tips for maintaining your elderly loved one’s teeth in good condition. Firstly, avoid sugary food and drinks. That’s because sugar is well-known for causing tooth decay. After all, it has been known as “the dentist’s best friend”. Instead, encourage her to choose fruit and vegetables as well as sugar free snacks. Thankfully, these are now freely available as we have progressed in disease management.
Although it is perfectly alright to drink tea and coffee, it is better to drink more water. After all, nobody likes visits to the dentist. Nonetheless, as we get older they are imperative. Most importantly, if your elderly loved one’s teeth deteriorate so will her health. That is because difficulty eating means that older people can choose to eat less.
Looking at the above, we realise it’s not difficult to look after teeth. A basic daily oral care regimen is all that is required. Nonetheless, to be effective it must be maintained. Our elderly relatives need our help in this area. New products are coming onto the market every day that mark improvements. Even a visit to the dentist is not as bad with modern dentistry techniques. So, until next time dear reader, all of us here at Gold Age Australia wish you and your loved ones continued good health. Look out for our next blog in the “Always a Lady” series. Bye for now.
These tips are based on the Oral health messages for the Australian public: Findings of a national consensus workshop (2010)
DHSV is a content partner with the Better Health Channel.
More information about oral health can be found at Better Health Channel. Use the search terms ‘teeth’ or ‘dental’.
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