If your elderly family member has pain or joint trouble in her hands, shoulders, or even upper back, brushing her teeth can become almost impossible. Here are some things that you can do in order to help her to cope with these changing abilities and continue to keep her mouth in good condition.
Switch to Electric Toothbrushes.
Electric toothbrushes require a lot less effort for your aging adult to operate. They tend to do all the work for her as long as she’s able to hang onto the handle of the brush. Most electric toothbrushes also have a slightly larger handle, which can be easier for someone with arthritis or other issues to handle.
Use a Handle Adapter.
Depending on the issues that your senior is having, using an adapter on the handle of her toothbrush can make it easier for her to manage on her own. Many of these types of devices use a soft, foamy substance that is easier to hold onto than a small, slick toothbrush handle. They’re easy to swap over from one toothbrush to another, so when it’s time for a new one, your elderly family member still has an easy gripping surface.
Schedule More Frequent Cleanings.
If brushing is becoming more and more difficult for your aging adult, it might be a good idea to talk to her dentist about scheduling cleanings more often. Having a deep cleaning quarterly rather than twice a year can help to catch plaque buildup before it can become too intense. This can make it easier for your senior to cope with her changing abilities while maintaining dental health.
Brush for Her.
Another option is for you or senior care providers to brush for your aging adult. This can take some getting used to, for both you and your elderly family member. Once you develop a system, though, this can be a really efficient way for your senior to continue to have a clean, healthy mouth without experiencing pain or discomfort while doing so.
Work with your senior’s dentist to figure out any other options and techniques that can help her keep her teeth cleaner that work with her particular situation.