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Tips for Practicing Better Oral Hygiene in the Senior Years

Gum disease and other dental health issues are common in the elderly. As people age, they may have difficulty performing a regular oral hygiene routine, which can lead to gum inflammation, bleeding, tooth decay, and other complications. However, taking care of the teeth and gums may be easier than your senior loved one realizes. The Toronto, ON, elder care experts at Home Care Assistance have a few tips to help your loved one practice better dental hygiene.

Consume Foods with Plenty of Vitamin C

Aging gums can be sensitive to brushing and flossing, and performing oral care can even cause pain. Because of this, it is important to offer your loved one foods rich in vitamin C. This crucial nutrient can help reduce gingival inflammation as well as the frequency and intensity of bleeding gums. If your loved one has gingivitis but does not like citrus fruits, talk to his or her primary physician to determine if your loved one might benefit from taking vitamin C supplements. 

Rinse the Mouth Regularly

Even if your loved one is unable to brush and floss after every meal, there are still easy ways he or she can practice good oral health. Rinsing the mouth with water after meals can help flush away bacteria and food particles, preventing bacteria from growing under the gum line or between the teeth. Encourage your loved one to gently swish water around the mouth for a few seconds before spitting it out. Though not as effective as brushing or flossing, rinsing with water can still help keep oral bacteria at bay. 

Eat Apples

Eating apples and other crunchy fruits and vegetables stimulates and enhances blood flow to the gum tissue, keeping it strong and free of infection. If your loved one wears dentures, eating apples may be problematic, but slicing the fruit into small, bite-sized pieces can make it easier to chew.

Use a Water Pulse Instrument

Water pulse dental appliances like water picks and oral irrigators are an excellent alternative to flossing. The stream of water gets in between the teeth and gently flushes out food particles and bacteria without damaging sensitive gums. If your loved one has difficulty brushing and flossing or doesn’t enjoy doing so, a water pulse device may make his or her oral hygiene routine more pleasant. 

Managing dental hygiene and other grooming tasks can become more challenging in the senior years. If your loved one needs help maintaining good hygiene habits, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our respite and 24-hour caregivers are available around the clock to provide the assistance your loved one needs with everyday tasks, and we also offer specialized Parkinson’s, post-stroke, and Alzheimer’s care Toronto, ON, seniors can rely on. To learn more about our in-home care services, call one of our experienced Care Managers today at (416) 488-8777.