In the UK, as in many countries around the world, people are living longer thanks in part to better medical care and nutrition etc.
As we age it is inevitable that our bodies will suffer from health complications and psychological changes, many of which may result in the need for additional support and medication to help manage.
For that reason care home living may become a more prominent part of ageing in the UK – over 430,000 people already live in care homes and this number is set to rise in the coming years.
Maintaining oral hygiene remains important throughout life. Poor oral health can impact on the ability to eat, swallow and talk all of which can affect physical and psychological well-being.
So here are some practical tips for people in residential care homes, where it can be challenging to maintain oral care routines and ensure access to dental services.
- Everyday tasks, such as tooth brushing, can help maintain independence but may require additional assistance. If you are unsteady on your feet, you may want help to stand at a basin.
Consider using non-foaming fluoride toothpaste, such as Oralieve Ultra Mild toothpaste. This means you can brush your teeth sitting in a chair or even in bed without any mess!
The ultra mild flavour of Oralieve is also ideal for anyone who doesn’t like strong flavours too.
- Dentures sometimes have a habit of getting lost or even being used by other residents!
Make sure you get any dentures marked - your dental practice can arrange this for you
- Multiple medications, including those for dementia, cancer, diabetes or Parkinson’s can all lead to a dry mouth, which if unmanaged, can have a detrimental effect on oral health.
Gels and Sprays, such as Oralieve Moisturising Mouth Gel and Spray, can help keep mouths moist, comfortable and healthy [and are available on prescription]
- Care homes have a duty to help maintain [and improve, where possible] the oral health of their residents
If you, or a relative, are having difficulties with performing daily oral care speak with the Care Staff as they will be able to assist.