Caregiver Assistance News – Oral Care – Digestion Starts in the Mouth

CareNews – January 2014 PDF





Caregiver Assistance News
Adapted from The Comfort of Home: Caregiver Series, © 2014 CareTrust Publications.
Gum Disease
While poor oral hygiene is a prime
cause of gum disease, other risk
factors are smoking and diabetes.
The fi rst sign of gum trouble is red,
swollen gums or gums that bleed after
brushing. Brushing twice a day with
a soft toothbrush and fl ossing is also
important to scrape the plaque off the
spaces between the teeth.
Older adults can develop tooth
decay, particularly if they have
receding gums or if they have old
fi llings that develop cracks and
crevices where new cavities can form.
What’s unhealthy for your body is
also unhealthy for your mouth. When
we eat foods that are high in sugar
– as well as starchy foods that get
broken down into sugar – the bacteria
in your mouth can change those
sugars into acids that slowly eat away
at your enamel, causing a hole in your
tooth. The foods you eat and the way
you clean your teeth are the two most
important factors infl uencing whether
or not you have cavities. Limit your
intake of sugary foods and beverages,
and brush at least twice a day with
fl uoride toothpaste.
It is important to see a dentist
regularly – ideally, every six months
– so she can check for the fi rst sign
of tooth decay. Contact your local
dental society to fi nd the names of
professionals who have experience
working with people with dementia or
with elderly patients.
Watch for signs of tooth pain,
especially when the person in your
care is eating hot or cold foods. Dry
mouth as a side effect of a medication
may cause tooth decay.
Oral Care
Digestion Starts in the Mouth
Note Loss of appetite may
be a sign of mouth pain or ill
fi tting-dentures. Even a person
with dentures should regularly
visit the dentist to check the soft
tissues of the mouth.2
© 2014 CareTrust Publications
Keeping the Mouth Fresh and Clean
Oral care includes cleansing the mouth and gums and the teeth or
dentures. While daily dental