If you are a caregiver for an elderly parent, you have a lot of responsibilities on a day-to-day basis. It can be hard to remember their dental health, but taking the time to help preserve your parent's teeth and gums can help them avoid pain, cavities and a host of other oral problems. Here are some things you can do to maintain the good dental health of your elderly parent.
Help Your Parent Eat a Healthy Diet
Many people don't think about how a healthy diet can help maintain good dental health. Eating junk food and drinking sugar-filled beverages is not good for anyone, but because of their age, there are some other things that may prevent your elderly parent from eating a healthy diet.
For example, your parent may not be able to chew things as they once did. They may not want to eat much because they are taking certain medications that cause them to feel nauseous. These things may make getting proper nutrition difficult for your parent, and they may start to have problems with their teeth and gums due to vitamin deficiencies.
To help, you may need to make changes to their diet so they get the vitamins they need. For instance, you may try to offer them nutrient-rich spinach along with lettuce in their salads. You can also offer them nutritious, softer foods that are easy to chew. You might consider supplementing their diet with nutrition drinks, or offering them meal replacement shakes if they don't seem to have an appetite. By keeping an eye on their diet, you can help your parent to have the minerals and vitamins necessary for good dental health.
Take Them to the Dentist Regularly
As people get older, they can sometimes become less likely to visit the dentist as regularly as they should. This is especially a problem for the elderly, as they are sometimes unable to transport themselves to and from the dentist. In some cases, they cannot remember that they need a dental checkup.
When you make sure your elderly parent gets to the dentist, the dentist can perform a number of functions to make sure their teeth are in good shape. An incredibly important thing that is done during dental visits is the teeth cleaning, which can be very helpful for your elderly parent, as they may not be brushing properly. The dentist can also help your parent by giving them a brush with a modified handle that is easier to grip.
The dentist can also determine whether your elderly parent has gum disease, which can have no symptoms for a long time. Gum disease is dangerous, because in advanced stages it can lead to pain and loss of teeth. Having a dentist monitor your parent's mouth for this disease can ensure that your parent gets early treatment, if necessary.
Now that you know what you can do to help your elderly parent keep healthy gums and teeth, you can incorporate the above suggestions to keep their mouths healthy. Talk to your parent's dentist, one like Westowne Dental, about more ways to keep their mouth healthy.