19/08/2015 by Allan Delsaut, DD. Sudbury Denture Specialist
DENTURE TIPS FOR A SENIOR'S CAREGIVER
It's important that family caregivers have the right information at their finger tips when taking care of seniors. Our denture list on things to keep an eye on, and how to clean and care for your senior's dentures.
Senior Care Corner is one of the many wonderful organizations that provides information and resources for seniors. And they also like to take care of the family caregivers, who are in some cases tackling ‘situations that are new and foreign to them.’
One thing that might be unique for a younger caregiver in particular is caring for dentures – or someone else’s teeth!
We compiled the following tips from the Senior Care Corner and our own ideas for family caregivers of older adults.
Things To Keep An Eye On:
- Every senior should visit their denturist and dentist at least once a year. As the mouth changes with age, so does the denture fit. Some of these changes are so subtle that it’s easy not to recognize that the denture may need an adjustment.
- If your senior’s denture is fitting well, using adhesive for special occasions is a good idea. But adhesive isn’t the solution for loose dentures. Using adhesive to fill the gaps, instead of getting a repair, can lead to tissue damage.
- Seniors that have poorly fitting dentures are most likely to suffer from malnutrition. Poorly fitting dentures interfere with chewing that can lead to the elimination of nutritious foods and unhealthy weight loss. So, if you notice your senior refusing foods or losing weight, check if they are indeed wearing their dentures.
- A clicking sound from the dentures during speaking shouldn’t be ignored.
- Pay attention to any concerns about mouth sores or irritation. This could be a sign of ill-fitting dentures or something that needs immediate attention.
- Never adjust or repair a denture yourself, always visit a denturist. Do-it-yourself repair kits can sometimes damage your senior’s denture to the point where a permanent fix can’t be made.
- New dentures (or those newly repaired) will take a little time to get used to. Remind your senior to chew well, eat slowly and take smaller bites to prevent choking. It can take a little persistence.
Tips For Cleaning Dentures:
Dentures need to be cleaned daily:
- Use a special denture brush to remove debris and food plaque. Ideally, it’s best to rinse the denture off after eating.
- Rinse in warm water (never hot). Cleaning the denture on a towel will help breakage and from dropping them in the sink or on the floor.
- Never use regular toothpaste. It’s too abrasive and may damage dentures. If there are no commercial cleaners available you can consider using a mild dishwashing liquid.
- Don’t limit cleaning to just the dentures. This is a good time to brush the gums, cheeks and tongue to keep free of potential irritants.
- Dentures should be stored in a denture container with water to keep moist. Don’t let them dry out, or they will lose their shape.
Dentures are not a once-in-a-lifetime appliance. They will need to be relined or refabricated from normal wear and tear or whenever there are any changes to your senior’s face, jaw or weight.
Proper monitoring of your senior's oral health will help keep them healthy and happy!