Sunday, January 15, 2006

oral hygiene (dental care)

The condition of teeth affects the total health of an older individual. Poor oral hygiene can result in loss of appetite and weight and cause mouth infection. Regular dental checkups should be continued, even if all teeth have been removed and dentures fitted. Electric toothbrushes and Waterpiks may be useful in older people whose eyesight and manual dexterity is diminished. Regular flossing is also important to prevent gum disease and cavities. Unfortunately, neglect of teeth in the early years of life leaves a large percentage of older people faced with the prospect of wearing dentures. Dentures must be cleaned daily with running water and a brush. Then they should be soaked each night in some kind of cleaning agent. Dentures should be stored in a safe container to prevent chance of breakage and warpage. A mouthwash or gargle may be refreshing to use regularly. Many older individuals take medications that tend to dry the mouth and lips. Lips should be coated with a light coat of cream or petroleum jelly to protect against cracking.
Gillies, J. A Guide to Caring for and Coping with Aging Parents. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1981.


Post a Comment

<< Home