It’s important to take good care of your teeth as you age. Elderly patients often need more frequent visits to stay healthy, as they are at a higher risk of oral complications, including extraction, tooth decay, and periodontal (gum) disease.
One of the best things you can do for your oral health, especially during your golden years, is to invest in an electric toothbrush. Whereas a traditional toothbrush takes a bit more elbow grease, electric toothbrushes clean your teeth while requiring minimal physical effort. This is perfect if you struggle with mobility. It cleans your mouth without jeopardizing your physical wellbeing.
Modify Your Traditional Toothbrush
If you are unable to invest in an electric toothbrush, there is a way to modify your traditional toothbrush. Try elongating the handle of your toothbrush. This way you can easily reach your back molars and other harder to reach areas. Look around your home for a few simple materials. Specifically, foam, rubber, or even tongue depressors can assist you. Wrap these around your toothbrush handle closer to its end. You should now have a longer toothbrush and brushing your teeth should be much easier.
Caretakers Can Help Too
If you live with or take care of an older individual, your help is important too. Gently remind them to brush twice a day and floss as well. If they have problems with physical tasks, assist them. You can also offer to give them rides to their dental appointments or even schedule the appointments for them. As dental care can be expensive, many communities offer public health programs for older patients, offering discounted or even free services. Reach out to your local social services or public health office to learn more.
Dental hygiene is extremely important for anyone, but even more so for senior citizens. It’s vital that senior citizens come in for routine checkups so that we can monitor their dental health. Sometimes poor dental health can be an indicator that something else is going on inside the body. Gently remind your senior of this and help them set up their next appointment.