Proper care of the mouth is very important when caring for an elderly adult with a denture or “plate.” Some elderly adults will go weeks or months with denture sores without telling anyone.
In some cases, the person may have pain, infection, and problems speaking or eating, and they may feel unhappy with their smile. They may stop wearing the denture all together and eat by “gumming” foods. It becomes very hard for them to eat healthy foods, and causes them to lose weight or have other health problems. Read on for information on how to help the person you care for, maintain their denture, and practice dental hygiene.
Denture Maintenance and Care For Seniors
Dentures like normal teeth can develop stains, plague, and calculus. Therefore, you need to maintain them to keep them healthy and long-lasting. Some maintenance tips you can try include:
Signs That You Need Replace Your Loved One Denture
If you notice at least one of the following, it is usually a sign that the dentures need replacement. If left unreplaced, it can cause chronic irritation, mouth, and gum diseases.
How To Clean Dentures
Caregivers can consider products like denture cleansers and adhesives to clean dentures.
If you’re using denture cleansers, the first thing is to remove the denture to rinse away food particles.
Next, you should drop the cleanser to make a solution and soak the dentures inside it. Denture cleansers can come in the form of a paste, tablets, gel, creams, and liquid solutions.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how long to soak the dentures. After that, gently scrub, take off and rinse. Allow drying before inserting it into the mouth.
Also known as denture adherents, denture adhesive are wafers, strips, creams, and powders used to hold the dentures in place and prevent food particles from entering the dentures and gums.
Denture adhesives are also used to clean the dentures. You can do this by positioning it on the mouth and hold for some seconds or according to the product instructions.
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, users should adhere to the following when using adhesives.
Asides denture commercial cleansers and adhesives, you can use toothpaste or mild soap to wash and clean dentures.
What Can I Do as a Caregiver?
- Find out how old the denture is. New dentures may require more adjusting and be more uncomfortable at first.
- Check to see if the older adult has sores on their gums or tongue. If so, make an appointment for the dentist to adjust the denture and place soft gum-like material in the denture to help cushion it.
- Offer the older adult nutrition shakes while adjusting to their new denture to make sure that they get the proper nutrients.
- Encourage them to take out their dentures for at least 4 hours a day. Store them in a solution (water is okay) to help hold their shape.
- If you notice weight loss, a dentist should look at the gums and dentures. Weight loss can trigger changes in the denture fit.
- Discourage the elderly adult from using a large amount of denture cream to use a poorly fitting denture. Denture creams can work well when used properly. A small amount can be used to “seal” the denture.
- Schedule regular dentist appointments so the dentist can check the elderly adults’ partial “plates.” Clean the teeth that help hold the partial plate in place. Remind the elderly adult to clean and brush their dentures daily to remove bacteria and food particles (which can lead to gum irritation and infection).
When do I take my older adult to the dentist for dentures?
Dentists can help patients transition into dentures for the first time, or patients who have had their dentures for a long time. They can “adjust” the denture by grinding down the denture material in spots, or they can refit the denture by “relining” or “rebasing” depending on what is needed. Denture sores can happen, but should not be ignored. Take special care and make sure that your older adult is visiting the dentist regularly. Some dentists visit nursing or assisted living homes in mobile dental offices. This can be a great way for patients to get the dental care they need.