Oral health as we age is increasingly important.
Oral health as we age often declines yet it remains just as important. People keep their own teeth more and more, and consequently the need for oral care in aged care and residential aged care facilities increases.
What Can Carers do to Help Their Residents With Oral Hygiene?
Accessing a dentist is all too important if you have dental decay. As an employee of a residential aged care facility or a home care provider, you can aid your residents in helping them to access a dentist.
We all know that mobility, costs, pain, and lack of access are hurdles in getting a dentist appointment. Firstly, speak with your clients and their family members (with the client’s consent) and see if they’re able to take them to a dentist. If that’s not a possibility and your client is in receipt of home health care, transport is accessible through a home care package or Commonwealth home support (if there are available funds). That way the client gets transported to and from the dentist.
If you’re caring for residents in residential care, many residential aged care facilities provide a visiting mobile dentist, who visits every few months.
Costs of Going to the Dentist
If money’s preventing your client from visiting the dentist, your state government has free dental for eligible people. Get in contact with your state health department to access the application forms.
Another major issue for many older Australians is ill-fitting dentures. Our gums can shrink as we age which causes the dentures to be loose. This can make your mouth sore and cause issues with chewing food.
If your dentures aren’t fitting correctly, it’s important to do something about it. But what can you do? Firstly, arrange an appointment with your dentist and make plans to get to and from there.
Your dentures might need adjusting, or replacing. Properly fitted dentures will improve your oral health and your quality of life.
Dry mouth can be due to medications or as a result of ageing related issues. According to the Victorian Better Health Channel about 25% of older Australians suffer from Dry mouth syndrome or Xerostomia.
Notably if you suffer from Xerostomia, visit your dentist or doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan. Dry mouth syndrome is treatable. There are some things that you can do to help in the interim. Eating chewy foods will help to increase the flow of saliva, and drinking plenty of water will help too. Also avoid substances that are drying such as cigarettes and caffeine. And don’t forget to keep up with regular dental hygiene too.
How to keep your mouth healthy
Although age related oral complications may appear unavoidable, there are certain steps to take in order to maintain oral health.
Firstly, Colgate suggests that you use a fluoride based toothpaste or mouthwash on a daily basis. They also recommend drinking plenty of water and avoiding tobacco smoke.
Finally, brush regularly, floss regularly and rinse regularly with an antibacterial mouth rinse. And don’t put off visiting your dentist so that you can keep smiling.