One of the more unexpected duties of senior care can be helping a loved one live with dentures. While those of us without dentures may not always think of the challenges they present, living with dentures can present major issues for seniors. Eating, for instance, can become much more difficult. Dentures also requires regular care and daily maintenance, which can become hard for elderly persons as they grow older.
Helping seniors care for and live with their dentures is relatively easy, but it’s important you know what you’re doing. Dentures can be easily broken or warped, and even the slightest damage can have major implications for your loved one’s comfort and quality of life. With the following tips and advice, senior care providers and family members can help elderly persons live more easily with dentures.
Cleaning Dentures as a Senior Care Provider
Just like teeth, dentures need to be cleaned and cared for every day. If you help care for a senior who has trouble remembering to regularly clean their dentures, or who struggles to do so due to strength, mobility, or vision issues, you may be called upon to clean their dentures yourself. To properly clean a set of dentures, senior care providers should follow these steps:
1. Clean dentures above a soft surface, such as a folded towel. This way, dropping dentures by accident will be less likely to result in breaks.
2. Rinse dentures with cool water before cleaning to remove surface food and debris. Do NOT use hot water, which can cause dentures to warp.
3. Use a soft-bristled brush to clean stuck-on food, debris, and plaque.
4. Use a commercial denture cleaner for cleaning. If none is available, use mild dishwashing soap. Do NOT use toothpaste. Most toothpastes are too abrasive to be safely used on dentures.
5. Rinse clean with cool water.
6. Store dentures in cool water between use to prevent drying out.
Helping a Senior Live with Dentures
Dentures are often fragile and easily damaged. This can be a major problem for seniors as a damaged or ill-fitting denture can lead to severe pain or discomfort, particularly when eating. To make sure your loved one is getting the most out of their dentures, you should pay attention to their eating habits, ask how their dentures feel, and quickly take care of any comfort issues.
- Check to see if they are leaving tougher foods – such as meats – on their plate. If so, chewing tough foods may be painful. As a senior care provider, you may need to have their dentures re-fitted, or adjust their diet to ensure they are receiving all vital nutrients.
- If your loved one complains about their dentures, book an appointment with their dentist. Dentures often need repair or replacing, and should always be attended to as soon as possible.
- NEVER attempt to repair dentures on your own. Dentures are meant to be fitted and repaired by professionals. DIY repairs can be painful for the wearer, and can even lead to permanent damage of your loved one’s gums or mouth.
Visiting Angels offers a wide range of at-home senior care services, including helping seniors care for their dentures. Call your local Visiting Angels office today to learn more about how we can help your loved one