Dentures contribute greatly in helping aging loved ones retain their self-esteem and also to help them function when it comes to speaking, eating and more. If you are taking over some of the caregiving responsibilities for your elderly loved one, denture care may be one area you are not very familiar with. While dealing with a partial or full set of dentures can be a challenge, when you are armed with information, you’ll do just fine.
Dentures are Important
Without dentures, your aging loved one would not be able to find success with speech or chewing. In fact, those without dentures can struggle with a number of issues such as malnutrition, dry mouth, mouth infections, depression and more. Without dentures or with poorly fitting dentures, seniors are less likely to engage with others, avoid nutritious food that is hard to chew, and take pride in their oral health and hygiene. With the help of a family caregiver or a home care aide, the elderly can continue to smile, speak and eat.
Basic Denture Care
While dentures do require some special care, it is not too difficult to follow the steps to do so. The first step is cleaning the dentures. Simply take a soft-bristled toothbrush and gently scrub the dentures. Pay special attention to the areas where adhesive is used as that can be a little tricky to remove. Use a mild soap or special denture cleaner for this. Rinse thoroughly and let dry. Never use any kind of bleach on dentures as it can weaken the material.
Dentures need to be cleaned every day to avoid bacterial and fungal infections. Also, your aging loved one’s gums, cheeks, tongue and mouth tissues need to be brushed with a soft-bristled brush and toothpaste every day to eliminate bacteria that may be lurking there. Clean dentures and a clean mouth will reduce bad breath and reduce the risk of irritation and sores.
Caring for Loved Ones With Dentures
Dentures allow aging loved ones to carry on with their normal life, but there are a few things that family caregivers need to keep in mind. When it comes to chewing and swallowing, seniors with dentures will do better when food is cut into smaller pieces. Encourage them to chew on both sides of the mouth to keep the dentures in place and stop them from shifting while eating. They should also avoid eating sticky foods like taffy and caramel, as well as very hard foods like nuts. These types of textures can loosen or break dentures.
Family caregivers should also make arrangements for regular dental visits for their elderly loved ones, so they can be monitored on how well the dentures fit and to spot any mouth ulcers, gum disease or any other problems associated with dentures. Healthy oral hygiene habits and an awareness of denture care can help family caregivers like you to keep your loved one’s beloved smile as bright as possible for years to come.
Some reports say over half of those wearing dentures will develop a fungal infection called oral stomatitis. But there are some tips you can follow to prevent this infection, as well as keep your senior loved one smiling, eating, and speaking with confidence.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering caregivers in Philadelphia, PA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands of Central Philadelphia. 215-274-0900.