Since Modern day Medicne appears to be increasing men and women’s life spans,
the need for dental care for seniors has probably never been more apparent!

The chief dental problem for older adults is without a doubt gum disease !
This common issue usually developes quite slowly, is often painless and much
more apparent in middle aged adults.

Fortunately if recognized in its early stages of development, gum disease can
be prevented and treated successfully. It is important to understand that
gum disease can exist even in patients who have no teeth and wear dentures.

Dentures do not fit comfortably over supporting gum tissue that is sore,
bleeding and perhaps swollen.

Seniors require regular dental checkups whether they have teeth or not!They
need the regular screening procedures that take place in a dental office
that is providing their exams and treatment if neccessary.

These screening techniques will locate small problems before they become
larger ones. Seniors require their teeth cleaned just like anyone else and if
they have dentures of some kind or another, these need to be cleaned as well.

Seniors usually have other health issues that the attending dental practioner
needs to know. They may have high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid problems,
Rheumatoid Arthritis, heart complications just to mention a few.

The dentist needs to know if the senior patient is on any medications for
their ailments or have they changed any medication since their last visit.
Although this type of information is required from all dental patients, medical
history updates are paramount for senior citizens.

The fact that our society is living longer is a good thing however that been said,
the longer we live and the older we get, the better chances there are for us to
develope health compromising issues !

If you have the obligation and responsibility of caring for a senior or a
loved one’s well being and health, there are numerous things youn can do to
make their life more comfortable and enjoyable.

Older seniors who are incapacitated in some way and require dental care
can be a big challenge. It may be awkward at first and even somewhat embarassing
but if you begin slowly, hopefully you will be able to help them clean their
teeth and gums regularly.

Sometimes you may meet some serious resistance to your help. If this happens,
do not insist or force your help on the indvidual in question.

The natural teeth are usually flossed and brushed with a SOFT bristle tooth brush
standing behind the person who should be sitting in front of a sink or basin.

It is always agood idea to ask the senior if you are brushing too hard. Ask the
person to rinse their mouth with warm water when you have finished cleaning their
teeth.

All removeable dentures should be cleaned daily ! Check the dentures for any cracks,
fracture line, stains, and tartar buldup. When cleaning the dentures it is always
a good idea to fill the basin sink with water first. This way if you inadvertantly
drop or knock the dentures out of your grasp, they will less likely break or crack.

The dentures can be left over night in water with a little white vinegar or
a denture cleaner solution. If the dentures have any metal parts, leave
them only in plain water overnight.

With their permission, look inside the senior’s mouth and check for signs of
swelling, redness or any white patches or colour changes of the supporting gum
tissue. Any evidence of gum sores that do not go away within a few days should
be reported to a dentist ASAP.

Use a moistened cloth or guaze swab, to clean the senior’s gum tissue daily.
Brush their gums, plalate and tongue gently providing they will allow you to
do so.

You can ask the senior to guide you when placing the dentures back into the mouth.
It is recommended that the upper denture be placed in first then followed by
the lower denture.

Taking care of seniors who are incapacitated and require assitance can be an overwhelming
experience and challenge for the care giver. These types of care providers must have a lot
of compassion, patients and empathy. They are a rare breed and deserve all the graditude
and appreciation they receive and so much more !

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