Even though preventative dental services are more effective than ever, tooth loss is still a common concern among the elderly. The American Dental Association claims that nearly 36 million Americans no longer have their natural teeth, and this number is expected to grow over the next 15 years. Those who have lost their teeth must continue to focus on their oral health to prevent additional complications like periodontal diseases and bone loss.
Don’t Ignore the Warning Signs
Once a single tooth is lost or extracted, there is a good chance the senior will lose the rest of his or her teeth at some point. Seniors and their caregivers must be wary of any unusual symptoms that could result in tooth loss, such as bleeding gums, ongoing toothaches, halitosis, and chronic dry mouth. Those who have already lost their teeth also need to be mindful of their dentures and bridges. These devices are quite durable, but they can easily become bent or cracked and damage the inside of the mouth.
Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust in Grand Rapids, MI, senior in-home care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life.
Clean Dentures Daily
Just like natural teeth, dentures must be cleaned multiple times a day to keep them smooth and in shape. The dentists often give seniors a complete list of aftercare instructions. After every meal, seniors should clean these restorative devices with either a soft toothbrush or denture brush. Many dentists also tell seniors to remove and rinse these devices once or twice a day to kill lingering bacteria.
Remove Dentures at Night
Most dentures and bridges must be removed each night before going to sleep. Whenever these devices are taken out, a soft towel needs to be placed over the sink so the acrylic isn’t cracked if they fall. Once they are rinsed, they should then be soaked in denture cleanser, warm water, or a mixture of warm water and vinegar. Taking dentures out every night gives the gums a chance to relax and breathe, which can reduce a senior’s risk of developing gum lacerations, gum sores, and periodontitis.
Oral health conditions are relatively common among seniors. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Grand Rapids seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
Prevent Cracked or Bent Dentures
Dentures should never be exposed to dry air for more than a few minutes. They must always be placed inside the mouth or stored in the cleaning solution. Allowing dentures and bridges to dry out can weaken the acrylic and make them brittle. If your loved one’s dentures break, he or she should immediately take them out, store them in the cleaning solution, and schedule an appointment with the dentist. Trying to fix dentures could void warranties on the devices.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Seniors who have missing teeth often have a difficult time eating certain foods, and many develop nutritional deficiencies because of tooth loss. Seniors should speak with a dentist if it is difficult to eat nutrient-dense foods like fresh produce, whole grains, and lean protein. These individuals might need to switch over to softer foods, health shakes, and supplements. Dentures take some getting used to, but your loved one might be able to eat most of his or her favorite foods if he or she is careful and diligent.
Aging adults may require assistance with meal preparation and making healthier lifestyle choices. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Grand Rapids seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers. To create a comprehensive care plan for your senior loved one, call us at 616-243-0835.