We have detected that JavaScript is disables. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.

Taking Good Care of the Teeth of Older Relatives

Posted on 17.02.2014 by perfectsmile

Taking good care of your teeth is actually about even more than simply maintaining a healthy and attractive smile. Scientists have recently been noting the strong links between poor dental health and a raft of serious diseases such as heart disease. As people get older it becomes ever more important to take good care of their teeth. For many people, despite the advancing years, this will be something which they can take care of themselves. Often, however, problems such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis or traumas such as a stroke can leave older people unable to do this for themselves. If you have an elderly relative who is dealing with problems such as these then it’s vital that you step up and try and help them to take care of the teeth which they still have. Not only will this boost their self-esteem and allow them to continue eating a rich and varied diet, but it will also mean that they can avoid some of the more serious illnesses which can arise as a result of poor dental health. The germs and bacteria which are present when plaque builds up and gums become diseased can lead to difficulties with respiratory illnesses, the control of blood sugar levels and regulating any medications of the kind which older people often have to take.

Tooth Implant

If you’re a small child with a much loved grandparent then make it your business to nag them into going to the dentist, perhaps to accompany you when it’s time for your next check-up. For many families, the easy option may be to take their elderly relative along to a dentist, have their ailing teeth removed and get dentures fitted in their place. The downsides of this approach are that the process of removing a large number of teeth in this manner may prove to be traumatic. Whilst a single tooth implant may prove fairly simple for an older person to deal with, the healing process involved in fitting a full set of dentures will provide a much stiffer challenge. Not only will the dentures themselves have to be looked after, but the very highest standards of hygiene will have to be maintained in order to ensure that the gums remain healthy. It’s far better, for both the patient themselves and the family members trying to help them, to try to maintain the all-round good health of the older persons teeth. The following tips should be followed in order to make sure that this is in fact the case:

  • Focus: if you have a limited time during which to clean an older person’s mouth then it’s best to concentrate on what might be termed the ‘problem areas’. These include the inside surface of the lower teeth and the gum line itself.
  • Saliva: dentists often refer to saliva as being ‘nature’s mouthwash’ and this is because of the simple fact that a reasonable supply of saliva in the mouth will help to keep the teeth healthy by rinsing away any foodstuff or bacteria which build up. Over and above the simple physical act of rinsing is the fact that the chemical make-up of saliva will help to maintain the correct acid balance within the mouth, thus protecting the enamel of the teeth from attack. Many older people suffer from a dry mouth and lack of saliva, often as a result of medication which they are taking. If this is the case then they should be encouraged to chew on sugar free gum, something which will encourage the production of saliva without introducing sugar to the mouth or the rest of the patients system.
  • Water: encourage older people to drink water as simply rinsing the mouth with clean water can help almost as much as using mouth wash or cleaning materials.
  • Electric Toothbrush: the very best cleaning results, particularly for patients whose own movements may be somewhat limited, can be achieved using an electronic tooth brush. The best type is one which incorporates small rotary movements, since this is precisely the type of brushing which is that recommended by dental hygienists everywhere.

If you’re worried about the dental health of an elderly relative, and in particular about their on-going ability to look after their own teeth, then why not accompany them to your dentist and dental hygienist. By being there with them you’ll be able to make sure that you get to hear whatever advice is given, and that you can pass it on to your relative as well as utilising it on your own behalf. On some occasions, the damage may already have been done and the only answer will be to fit a set of dentures. If this is the case, then you can help a relative such as your grandmother to understand exactly what is going to happen, what the results of the procedure will be and how she will be expected to set about looking after her dentures once they have been fitted. Not only that but you can play an active part in helping them to maintain good oral health after the event. By working closely with your grandmother and her dentist you should be able to ensure that she’s able to flash a dazzling smile for a good few years yet. By giving your grandma the gift of a brand new set of dentures, you’ll be doing something that genuinely gives her a really good reason to smile.

This entry was posted in General Dentistry by perfectsmile. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *