Denture Care Tips for Senior Caregivers
An unfortunate fact of life for many people in their golden years is the loss of teeth. We first lose our teeth as children, and then many of us lose our permanent teeth again in late adulthood. With the advancements in dental replacements, the stigma and the visible clues of dentures have long faded.
Like our original teeth, however, they require daily maintenance in order to keep them in good biting shape. Dental care is necessary for seniors to be able to eat and speak as normal as possible, so caring for them is imperative. Here are some tips for caregivers on how to care for dentures.
Brush Every Day
If you’re like most people, you probably thought that teeth brushing stopped when dentures were necessary. Not true. Daily brushing shouldn’t stop when someone receives dentures. Every day, denture wearers must prioritize brushing their dentures with water and a toothbrush that has soft bristles. Daily denture brushing will prevent food from getting trapped, remove stains, and keep plaque from building up.
Older adults should make sure they do not use a regular toothbrush on dentures because it is abrasive and may cause dentures to degrade. Water or a denture cleaner can be used as an alternative or supplement.
The key is to keep dentures clean just as you would a regular set of teeth.
Dentures Need to Be Kept Moist
If your senior is not wearing their dentures, the dentures should be kept in a moist environment to prevent cracking and deforming. Keep them in a cup filled with denture cleaner or water. Seniors with metal parts in their dentures need to talk to their dentist about the best method to use to keep them moist because, in some cases, water tarnishes the dentures.
Replace When Necessary
As with most items that age, dentures, too, become brittle and can break. If this happens when the senior happens to have them in their mouth, gum damage is likely to happen. Despite claims that dentures are made to withstand use for five to seven years, over time they gradually become brittle and are prone to breaking. Seniors should consult their dentist to determine an appropriate time frame for replacing the dentures.
Make Sure Your Senior Sees a Dentist Regularly
MouthHealthy.org, provided by the American Dental Association, stresses the importance of seniors seeing their dentist on a regular basis. They say, “There are dentists who specialize in caring for the elderly and disabled. You can locate a specialist through the Special Care Dentistry Association’s referral directory. For those who wear dentures, pay close attention to their eating habits. If they’re having difficulty eating or are not eating as much as usual, denture problems could be the cause.”
Dentures need care just as our permanent teeth need care. A dentist is still needed to make sure the dentures are fitting as they should and are in wearable condition, and to regularly check the gums and surrounding areas for signs of infection or any other problems associated with oral health.
Oral health is important to everyone, and it is just as important in our twilight years. For those of us lucky enough to make it through life with all our permanent teeth, oral health care is pretty common-sense; use mouthwash, brush regularly, avoid too many sweets, and see the dentist often. Many think that dentures make oral care easier, and that is not so. Persons with dentures need to stick to rigorous cleaning and checkup schedules to ensure their replacement teeth work to the standards they were designed to perform to.
In the case of seniors who need assistance with daily activities, the responsibility falls upon the caregiver to ensure that the senior’s oral health needs are taken care of as they arise. By keeping up with ensuring the senior’s dentures are working well and their overall oral health is good, your senior can truly take a “bite” out of life.
Each member of A Hand to Hold’s staff is trained to meet the exact needs of every senior, from the time they begin services and as long as they require them. You can rest easy knowing that your senior’s oral health and their overall health is in the best hands possible.