Three out of ten adults between the ages of 65 and 79 suffer from dry mouth. After the age of 79, it affects 40%. Dry mouth is common in older adults, and it’s also a leading reason for poor oral health. How is your dad’s oral care? Is he taking care of his teeth and gums properly? Is it time to arrange in-home care services for your dad?
He Should Be Brushing at Least Twice a Day
Your dad should brush his teeth a minimum of twice a day. Ideally, he wants to brush an hour after eating to allow the enamel that softens while eating foods to harden back up. If he brushes while the enamel is softer, it can damage his teeth.
Use a toothpaste designed to help strengthen the enamel. If you’re not sure which product is best, ask his dentist. You can also ask about the benefits of products for dry mouth.
An electric toothbrush that oscillates (circles) is ideal. It does the round brushing pattern that dentists recommend. Plus, electric toothbrushes have wider, round handles that are easier to hold if you’re an older adult dealing with arthritis in the hand.
Flossing Is Essential
Your dad needs to floss at least once a day. If you can, invest in a water flosser. The round handle will be easy for him to grip while he uses the spray of water to clear food particles from his teeth.
After he’s brushed his teeth, he should then use a floss pick or section of floss to go between each tooth. This two-stage process ensures he flosses correctly, even if arthritis impacts his dexterity.
The Importance of Dental Exams
Dental exams and professional cleanings are also key components of proper oral care. Half of all older adults have at least one cavity. The earlier they’re diagnosed, the easier it is to treat them before they damage the root.
If your dad has dentures or bridges, he needs to have them checked for a proper fit. If they start to slip or rub, it can lead to oral pain that prevents him from wanting to eat.
You need to make sure he’s scheduling these appointments at least twice a year. If his insurance allows three or four appointments, ask his dentist if he should be seeing his dentist more than twice.
During a cleaning, your dad’s dental hygienist will clean his teeth, measure the gap in his gums to determine if he could have gum disease, and take x-rays. His dentist will then look over his x-rays and check his mouth for signs of oral cancer and other issues.
If he’s finding it difficult to keep track of his appointments, clean his home, and help him complete hygiene and grooming tasks, in-home care can help. Call to learn more.