Home Care Blog | April 26, 2018
In honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, home health aides from Comfort Keepers of Calgary, AB are sharing information about common dental concerns among seniors such as oral cancer, while providing adults with home care tips on how to achieve healthy teeth and gums.
Some of the most common dental problems among the older population include darkened teeth, lost teeth, a diminished sense of taste, dry mouth, gum disease, root decay, and uneven jawbones. Oral cancer being one of the most serious dental concerns, and can occur anywhere in the mouth area. Seniors with oral cancer often display symptoms such as chewing or swallowing challenges, a lump, sore, or irritation on the mouth, lip, or throat, jaw swelling, and white or red patches in the mouth. A home health aide can help seniors keep track of oral problems so that they can discuss those problems with a dentist.
Fortunately, there are many ways older adults can ensure excellent oral hygiene and prevent oral cancer and the other oral conditions they may be susceptible to. A healthy diet is essential for seniors including fresh vegetables that will help them stay physical healthy. And seniors should not smoke. Smoking increases the risk of oral cancer by over 60%. In addition to daily brushing and flossing, seniors should make it a top priority to visit their dentist regularly for an oral exam.
During an oral exam, older adults will be asked questions related to changes in their mouth, loose or sensitive teeth, challenges with swallowing or chewing, lumps, bumps, or swellings in their mouth, and pain or discomfort. A home health aide can help seniors who have trouble remembering their symptoms describe them for the dentist so that the dentist can give them a better evaluation.
A dentist will also check their face, mouth, tongue, neck, and throat for possible signs of oral cancer. In addition, seniors who wear dentures can expect to answer several questions about them and take them out so that a dentist can inspect them for issues.
In the same visit as their oral exam, seniors can expect a dental cleaning. A dental cleaning involves a dental hygienist removing plaque and tartar, brushing the teeth with a high-powered electric toothbrush, and flossing the teeth in all areas including the ones that are hard to reach. A hygienist can also provide older adults with oral hygiene advice.
At Comfort Keepers®, we create individual care plans for every client. These plans include wellness goals that consider physical, mental and emotional health. Our caregivers can help support physician-prescribed diet and exercise plans, provide medication reminders, provide transportation to appointments and help seniors engage in the activities they love the most. And, our caregivers can help senior stay connected with loved ones through video chats, phone calls and care updates. We believe that every senior should experience the best in life.