Tips for caregivers to help keep senior smiles healthy

Brushing and flossing twice daily is a must

Sponsored by Hawaii Dental Service

Being a caregiver is one of the toughest jobs, especially when it’s being done at home with our loved ones. Oral health is just one of the many things caregivers need to take into consideration. HI Now host Kanoe Gibson is with Kari Wheeling from Attention Plus Care to talk about how to keep those senior smiles nice and healthy.

“Oral health is important at every age and is a clear indication of your overall health,” Wheeling says. “Everyone needs their mouth to eat and communicate, which is why we never overlook our patients’ teeth and gums.”

It’s important to notice signs of change in your loved one’s mouth, like taking note if there has been any recent tooth loss, discoloration, or dryness. Seniors may often experience those things and it affects how they digest food or indicates other health problems. It’s also important to notice small changes or signs of discomfort while they are eating or drinking.

To maintain good oral health, caregivers must make sure to brush a patient’s teeth twice daily for two minutes and floss. There are special oral health tools for caregivers to properly brush and floss. If your loved one or patient has dentures, be sure to rinse dentures after every meal and brush them with a denture cleaner. Dentures should be taken out before bedtime and stored in water.

Some caregivers are also responsible for preparing meals for their loved ones or patients. Food is an important factor in maintaining good oral health.

“I recommend limiting sugary drinks and snacking. Healthy foods such as soft vegetables and fruits like banana or watermelon are easy to chew and digest,” Wheeling suggests. “Lots of water keeps the teeth and body healthy.”

Wheeling’s last tip is to take your loved one to the dentist twice a year for a general checkup.

“Even people with dentures need routine visits with a dentist. Your loved ones’ oral health is just as important as their overall health!” she says.

For more information:, IG @hawaiidentalservice, FB: @hawaiidentalservice, Twitter: @hidentalservice