Young carers looking after infirm or older family members are more likely to encounter more demands and difficulties caring for that person’s oral health because of their reduction in mobility, as well as losses in cognitive ability.
Those suffering with poor oral health could also be in pain and discomfort and experience problems with their mouth and jaw. They might also have difficulties eating and drinking which could lead to nutritional deficiencies which could have an impact on their wider health.
Regular dental check-ups are important. Domiciliary care is available for people unable to leave their home.
This is a report available about oral health care in care settings published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It shows what was found from a review on the state of oral health care in care homes across England, this can help support prevention at a younger age.
The CQC also provide a guide to support improving oral health for adults in care settings.
More than half of older adults who live in care homes have tooth decay, compared to 40% of over 75s who do not live in care homes.
Visit Devon Doctors to help find a local NHS dentist.
Tooth brushing and toothpaste
Tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste is essential to keep teeth and gums healthy and is one of the most effective ways of preventing tooth decay.
- Always brush twice a day, before bedtime and at one other time in the day (for most people this is at breakfast time).
- Choose a toothbrush suitable for you:
- A Manual toothbrush should have a small head with soft/medium bristles.
- A rechargeable electric toothbrush with a small round oscillating head (battery brushes are not as effective).
- Keep your electric toothbrush fully charged
- Toothbrushes / heads should be changed every 3 months or sooner if the bristles are splayed. They should also be replaced after illness (eg colds and viruses).
- After use toothbrushes should be well rinsed and left to dry naturally (away from toilet facilities).
- Toothpastes containing 1,350 to 1,500ppm fluoride are the most effective.
- A pea sized amount of toothpaste containing 1,350 to 1,500ppm fluoride is the most effective.
- After brushing spit out excess toothpaste. Do not rinse your mouth with water or use mouthwash after brushing.
- Specialist Toothbrushes are available Dr.Barman’s Superbrush & Collis Curve Toothbrush
- Oranurse toothpaste has been developed without flavour or foaming agent
- Toothbrush handgrips or handle adaptions can also help people with dexterity issues maintain their independence.
Dry mouth is not just uncomfortable; it can also put you at risk for oral health problems such as tooth decay and gingivitis. Normally, the saliva in your mouth washes away food particles, neutralizes acids that can attack tooth enamel and helps control the bacteria in your mouth. With dry mouth, or xerostomia, there is not enough saliva to protect your teeth and gums from bacteria. You may notice problems with bad breath, sore throats and difficultly speaking or swallowing. Illness and some medications can contribute to dry mouth. Look at the NHS's advice to help a dry mouth.
Denture care is essential to maintaining good oral health and keeping the soft tissues healthy. Dental check-ups are still required even if someone has full dentures.
Medical conditions, medications and oral health some medical conditions and drugs can affect oral health. Or they may affect the treatment given and the materials the dental team use. A full medical history should be taken to the dentist by the patient or their support staff.