This educational and informational podcast was hosted by Jessica Cannon, a Proactive Caregiver specializing in educating others.
When Dr. Joy was asked about common oral health issues in seniors, she mentioned that the most common issue among senior citizens is dry mouth.
“86% of medications for chronic conditions have a side effect of dry mouth.”
Not only is dry mouth an issue on it’s own, but it also causes a lot of problems beyond just dry mouth.
A lot of times people don’t think about dry mouth being an issue if you still have saliva in the mouth, but there are TWO ways to look at saliva.
The Quality of Saliva and
The Quantity of Saliva
Someone might think they have enough saliva because their mouth does not feel dry and they’re swallowing fine and eating the food they want to – but the quality may not be the same.
How do we know if our Saliva is of good quality? We are not concerned because hey there’s saliva but we need to look at what it looks like. It should be crystal clear because there are enzymes that help break down our food. If it’s thick and mucous like, then we have a problem.
Senior citizens who have a lot of saliva may eventually have the same problem as those who don’t have enough saliva. Lack of saliva or low-quality saliva can cause tooth decay, gum disease, sensitivity and more.
This can cause bleeding gums and as a caregiver if you notice the bleeding it could be due to the quality or quantity of saliva. Don’t let bleeding gums prevent you from brushing properly.
What Types of Mouth Wash Should We Use?
Dr. Joy does not recommend an alcohol based mouthwash. Anyone that has a poor quality of saliva will experience burning during use. Instead, move toward an alcohol-free mouthwash that is hydrogen peroxide based. Act has a dry mouth mouthwash, including lozenges, to help keep your mouth wet.
Use this mouthwash twice a day, after brushing. DO NOT dilute or rinse after use so that the mouthwash can do its job.
If you have care for someone who cannot spit, use Biotene (which also comes with lozenges) and a spray or those who are afraid of choking due to problems swallowing.
If swallowed, it’s ok. All Biotene products are ok to swallow because it is Ph neutral so it doesn’t negatively affect the tummy.
If people have problems with swallowing due to dementia or Alzheimer’s, the Biotene spray coats the back of their throat and helps them to continually swallow and have lubrication to help elderly swallow food.
Another way to help keep one’s mouth clean is using a Waterpik. There is a waterpik that works great and they are handheld, making it easy to bring to your loved one. There are different speeds of water flow so you don’t have to worry about it being too forceful.
For more information on how to properly care for the mouth of those that suffer from Alzheimer’s and Dementia, please follow us on Facebook and also subscribe to Jessica Cannon’s podcast.