In 2016, the CDC found that about 6 out of every 10 senior citizens had been to the dentist at least once in the past year. For that almost 40 percent that didn’t see a dentist, poor dental care can lead to an emergency room visit.
An Oral Health America study found that about 7 out of 10 seniors lack dental insurance. In 2009 and 2010, more than two million elderly men and women went to the ER due to dental issues. When did your parents last see a dentist?
Dangers of Improper Dental Care
Gum disease, tooth decay, and infection are all possible with poor dental care. Your parent may need to have teeth pulled. Before that can happen, antibiotics are necessary to clear up the infection. Once teeth are removed, there will be multiple appointments for dentures, crowns, bridges, and fillings. Gum disease must also be addressed.
With mouth pain, your parent may refuse to eat certain foods. This can impact nutrition. You should consult with a doctor to make sure your parent is not suffering from malnutrition.
Fine Motor Skills Can Impact Dental Habits
Fine motor skills are key to keeping teeth brushed and flossed. When seniors have joint pain in the wrist and fingers, it can be hard to keep up with proper oral hygiene. A Sonicare toothbrush’s wider grip can make it easier to brush properly. Flossing can be hard, however, A water flosser might help. Dental rinses that loosen plaque before brushing can also help.
You should be honest with your parents and ask if they’re finding arthritis is impacting their flossing and brushing habits. If they are struggling, look into dental products that assist seniors who struggle with arthritis pain.
Talk to a Dentist
If your parent fears the dentist, look for a dentist that specializes in fear and anxiety. With the right techniques, your parent will be able to get through a dental appointment and overcome the fear. There are anxiety medications that may help. Modern equipment like ultrasonic scalers and needle-free anesthesia may also help.
Make Sure Your Parent Goes to the Dentist Twice a Year
Most insurance companies allow two cleanings a year. If your parent’s insurance is more restrictive, make sure they go to the dentist at least once a year. If your parent doesn’t drive, this can be a problem.
Elder care services are a great alternative when your parent has a hard time getting to appointments. Caregivers handle transportation. They can help with oral care at home and make dental appointments.
They can also be there for moral support. Call an elder care agency to get started.
If You Or An Aging Loved One Are Considering Hiring Elder Care in Gulfport, FL, Please Contact The Caring Staff At Assisting Hands Home Care Today! 727-748-4211.
Latest posts by Becky Moultrie (see all)
- When Is it Okay for You to Put Your Foot Down as a Caregiver? - October 11, 2018
- Four Tips for Helping Your Senior Live a Longer and Happier Life - October 5, 2018
- What Are the Signs of Depression in Seniors? - September 26, 2018