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Tips for Managing Dry Mouth in Your Aging Parent

June 16th, 2016

Senior Care in Hobe Sound FL

Senior Care in Hobe Sound FLJune is National Smile Month, but if your aging parent is dealing with dry mouth, they might not feel much like smiling. Dry mouth can be an extremely uncomfortable and unpleasant condition. It can also make your more parent more vulnerable to oral health challenges. These can include tooth damage, tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. This happens because saliva is a critical part of a healthy mouth environment. This saliva washes food particles and bacteria out of the mouth and keeps the tissues moist and healthy. This not only helps keep your parent's mouth healthier, but also helps them to taste their food better. This can help them to resist eating the unhealthy food options that have stronger flavors.

Dry mouth can be caused by a variety of issues, including simple aging, certain medications, and certain health concerns. Managing this condition will help your parent to have a healthier mouth and live a higher quality of life.

Some of the symptoms of dry mouth include:

  • Dry, cracked lips
  • Sores developing in the corners of the mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Scratchy throat
  • Lipstick sticking to the teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Food particles sticking to the teeth
  • Difficulty tasting food or beverages
  • Burning sensation in the mouth

Some ways that you can help your parent to deal with the issue of dry mouth include:

  • Proper oral hygiene. Taking care of their mouth will help your parent to experience fewer dry mouth symptoms. A healthier mouth produces more saliva and combats the bacteria that can contribute to dry mouth. Make sure that your parent brushes and flosses twice daily to keep their mouth healthier and stronger.
  • Use the proper products. Many oral care products can contribute to dry mouth. Make sure that you choose products that do not contain alcohol as these worsen the dry mouth symptoms. Look for products that are specifically designed for dry mouth but that still serve the important purpose of keeping their mouth clean and fresh.
  • Talk to their dentist. If your parent is suffering from dry mouth symptoms that are interfering with their health and quality of life, talk to their dentist about management options. Consider enzyme washes that moisten the tissues and help to encourage more saliva production.
  • Sip water. While it may not address the actual cause of the dry mouth, sipping water throughout the day can relieve the symptoms of dry mouth and help your parent to remain more comfortable. In some situations it can actually address some of the cause as well. Some cases of dry mouth are caused or worsened by dehydration. Encouraging your parent to drink water throughout the day will help to keep up their hydration levels, enabling their body to keep their mouth moist and healthy.
  • Suck hard candy. Sucking on something that tastes good encourages the body to produce more saliva. A piece of hard candy is ideal for those seniors who do not have swallowing challenges. Look for candy that is sugar-free, as excess sugar can contribute to drying and the growth of bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and infection.

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/ss/slideshow-dry-mouth
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Hobe Sound, FL, contact the caring staff at BrightStar Care of Jupiter. Call today (561) 741-1200.

Topics: Senior Care