If you are newer to the role of senior caregiver, you may not know as much as you’d like about how to help your elderly loved one care for their dentures. Or, if your elderly loved one is just getting full or partial dentures for the first time, you may feel unsure as to what information and tips you both might need to know to make things go smoothly during the transition.
Unless you’ve had experience with dentures before, they can seem difficult to deal with and maybe a little strange. The good news is that caring for dentures isn’t difficult. Like most healthy habits, it just requires knowledge, dedication and a commitment to doing things the right way.
Overview of Dentures
A lifetime of dental issues can trigger a dentist to recommend full or partial dentures for an elderly patient. Dentures will help them maintain a lovely and natural smile and also play a big part in their oral health and overall quality of life. Without dentures, many seniors have difficulty with speech, chewing, swallowing and more. Missing teeth are also linked to malnutrition, obesity, diabetes, and some forms of oral cancer. Dentures not only make people look better, but give them a chance at being healthier as well.
According to the American College of Prosthodontics, around 50 percent of the elderly population of the United States is without one or more teeth. More than 23 million have none of their own teeth, while 12 million have lost one or more teeth. The number of prosthodontists, or dentists that work with dentures and other oral health issues, is growing to keep up with patient demand for quality dentures. All these reasons and more are why it’s more common than ever for elderly people to get dentures.
Caring for Dentures
Learning to live with a full or partial set of dentures may seem challenging at times, but with the right information, denture care can be as easy as regular oral hygiene. Dentures need to be brushed daily to avoid stains and bacteria buildup. They should be rinsed in water and then brushes with a soft toothbrush, using a special denture care product. Special attention should be given to anywhere that dental adhesive is used. Failure to care for dentures this way could result in bad breath, poor fit, and even fungal infections in the mouth.
Dentures should be soaked daily in a special denture cleanser that helps eliminate germs and removes tiny particles of food. Different products vary in their recommended soak times, but it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. As with all oral health issues, family caregivers should share information with senior care aides and any others that need to help regulate the aging loved one’s grooming and hygiene.
Caring for an Elderly Loved One’s Mouth
Because dentures are in the mouth for long periods of time, dentists recommend giving the soft tissues a break from being irritated. This means that elderly loved ones should go for some time without their dentures in—usually at night while they are sleeping. Dentures should be stored in a special solution and handled with care lest they break if dropped.
Regular visits to a dentist will ensure that the aging loved one’s dentures are fitting properly and are being well cared for. They can also look for mouth ulcers, gum disease and any signs of oral cancer. Just because an aging loved one doesn’t have their own teeth doesn’t mean they should skip out on regular dental visits. Family caregivers should discuss the overall denture care routine with other family members and elder care aides so they can assist aging loved ones as well.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Minneapolis, MN, and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.