I recently finished up my long term care rotation at the DuPage Convalescent Center (DPCC) in Wheaton, IL. I’m not one to shy away from helping the older adult population,but I didn’t know too much about what I’d be getting into prior to the rotation. In the seven weeks that I was at this facility, I quickly became familiar with the facility’s philosophy and way of care. It’s very telling that during care conferences,many of the residents families’ shared how appreciative they were of the care their loved ones were receiving at DPCC and how they could tell the employees didn’t think of their daily activities as part of just “a job.”
With that said, with the many quarterly, yearly and initial assessments I completed, it became clearer as the days passed that evaluation of one’s oral care, dental and swallowing and chewing impairment affected the resident’s ability to obtain and maintain adequate nutrition. While dentures aka false teeth can be the solution to said issues, it’s important to keep your dentures and mouth consistently clean. If you wear ill-fitted dentures for a prolonged time, it can lead to:
- Gum and/or mouth irritation
- Problems eating and/or speaking
- Mouth infections
While with age, change comes, there are preventative ways you can make sure your dentures don’t contribute and/or exacerbate existing conditions.
- Make sure to frequent the dentist as gums and bones will change and dentures won’t fit as well and your dentures will need to be adjusted
- If you have trouble eating, don’t eat anything sticky, chew food slowly, take small bites of soft foods (i.e. eggs and yogurt) and chew foods using both sides of your mouth at the same time, which prevents dentures from moving forward or tipping
- Use an adhesive to keep dentures in place and make them feel more secure
- Unless dentist prescribes otherwise, do not sleep with your dentures in, especially after extraction and/or initial use of dentures
- When holding dentures, stand over a water filled sink or place towel underneath dentures to protect in case dropped.
- Clean dentures daily by soaking overnight with a denture cleaner and clean in the morning before putting them in your mouth
- Use a special denture cleaning brush or soft bristled brush
- Do not use toothpaste, bleach or powdered household cleaners as they are too abrasive
- Clean and massage gums, tongue and roof of mouth daily prior to putting dentures.
- Don’t use toothpicks as they can damage dentures
What denture hacks have you used to keep dentures in place? What troubles have you encountered with your dentures?