Deciding to take on the duties of caregiver for an elderly relative is a big step, and it includes many significant challenges. Among these challenges is the difficulty of cleaning your relative’s dentures and their mouth. This is not an easy task, but here are some tips to make it easier.
Communication Is Crucial
It will make your job a lot easier if the person you are caring for knows what you are doing. If they understand what you’re doing and why, they are more likely to cooperate, or, at least, not resist. Here’s how you help them understand:
- Explain why you’re going to do this; link it to their health and comfort.
- Tell them how it will feel when you’re doing it
- Show them all the steps of the process
- Let them touch the tools you’re using so they know what to expect
- Do the process in the same order you explained it
Repeat the above steps as often as necessary. If your loved one is experiencing dementia, they may not remember the process from day to day.
Make sure your loved one is in a comfortable position for the procedure. If they get uncomfortable, they can grow restless and fidgety, even hostile, if they get sore. You might think that the bathroom is the only room appropriate for denture cleaning, but the truth is that you can brush teeth wherever there’s a good chair for your loved one to get adequate support. Some place other than the bathroom can be good, too, because you can get away from all the hard surfaces that can break dentures.
Just make sure you have all your supplies handy before you begin.
Remove and Clean Dentures
Next, remove the dentures for cleaning. For most people, sleeping without dentures is recommended. Sleeping with dentures has even been linked to increased pneumonia risk for elderly individuals.
Brush the dentures carefully with special denture cleaners, not regular toothpaste. Once you have thoroughly cleaned their dentures, put them in a denture cleansing soak. Dentures should stay in water overnight to keep them from warping. Remember to rinse dentures before you put them back in.
Clean Their Mouth and Remaining Teeth
Using a regular toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, brush their remaining teeth. Floss between their teeth. Then clean their gums, making sure you remove any food particles and denture adhesive. Also take this opportunity to look for any sores that may be developing due to poor denture fit or wear. Denture pain and recurring infections may be a sign that it’s time for replacement dentures.
Help them rinse thoroughly. If they can’t spit, wipe out their mouth with a soft cloth to remove as much of the toothpaste residue as possible.
If you are looking for replacement dentures in Columbia, SC, please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a denture dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.