Dental advice for caregivers

Caregivers not only have to worry about their own oral health, but the individual they care for. This can sometimes be a very daunting task, especially since many dental issues can go unnoticed in our own mouths.

ToothbrushOne thing to be aware of is diet. Make sure the individual you are caring for is receiving the proper nutrients and vitamins that are necessary for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Calcium builds and strengthens tooth enamel, vitamin C helps produce collagen for gum health, vitamin D absorbs calcium, and vitamin B and iron improve the health of gum tissue. Foods that carry these nutrients include:

•    Milk and Almond Milk (Calcium)
•    Green leafy vegetables (Calcium and vitamin C)
•    Kiwi, oranges and strawberries (vitamin C)
•    Fish, tofu, mushrooms and eggs (vitamin D)
•    Whole grains (vitamin B and Iron)

Make sure to use a soft toothbrush when brushing, help the individual floss at least once a day (be sure to get in between each tooth as well as around the gums), and also incorporate a fluoride or mouthwash rinse.

Make sure when brushing to always brush in a diagonal with the brush facing the gums, but do not brush the gums straight on. Using mouthwash to conclude an oral care routine can help eliminate any plaque build-up left behind from brushing and flossing.

Be vigilant to their water intake and also the medications they have been prescribed. Drinking water helps induce saliva production, which can be halted by some medications.

Many medications, especially those prescribed to seniors, can lead to dry mouth. Saliva, like water, helps to rinse away harmful bacteria that lay in between and on top of teeth so that it does not remain stagnant, causing tooth decay and cavities. It is especially important to rinse with water after meals, snacks, and after drinking sugary beverages.

Rory Mycek is a guest contributor from