Dental problems are not uncommon among elderly adults, but they can be highly problematic.
If your aging parent is dealing with oral health issues, it could be an indication of more serious problems throughout their body, but could also be a precursor of more dangerous issues. As a family caregiver, it is extremely important that you pay close attention to your parents, their behaviors, and their symptoms so that you can detect when they might be dealing with issues such as tooth decay, infections, dry mouth, and others that can lead to more serious problems.
One way that you can do this is to detect when they are suffering from dental pain. Many elderly adults will not express this pain, thinking that it is not serious or that nothing can be done about it, and if your elderly adult is dealing with a cognitive functioning decline, they might not be able to properly verbalize that they are in pain because they no longer understand it. By paying attention to the signs, you can detect when they are experiencing this pain and take the proper steps to help them manage it effectively.
Some signs that your aging loved one may be suffering from dental pain include:
- Avoiding foods that are hot or cold as these can trigger painful reactions in sensitive teeth, broken teeth, and teeth that are decayed
- Avoiding foods that are hard or crunchy as these can be too difficult to chew on sensitive teeth, painful teeth, or weakened teeth
- Brushing their teeth more gently as it can be painful to brush decayed or broken teeth, or gums that are irritated or infected
- Avoiding flossing
- Holding their mouth or one side of their face, particularly if the senior is dealing with cognitive functioning decline
- Sipping water more frequently and seeming it to swish it around in their mouth to soothe dryness
- Not opening their mouth as much when they speak, smile, or laugh
If you have been looking for a way to enhance your aging parent’s quality of life and help them to manage needs in the way that is right for them, now may be the ideal time for you to start elder care for them. An elderly home care services provider can be with your parent on a fully customized schedule to ensure that your parent gets the level of care and support that they need and deserve whether that is a few hours a few days a week, or more than one care provider with your parent all day and then throughout the night as well.
This means that your senior will be able to have all of the care that they need to manage their challenges in the way that is right for them while encouraging them to live a lifestyle that is active, engaged, and as independent as possible as they age in place.