How to Help Aging Parents Maintain Their Oral Health

June 30, 2016

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When we were young, it was likely our mother or father who originally showed us how to brush our teeth and who made sure we did it every day. Even before we were able to do it ourselves, they probably did it for us. Of course, that’s just one example of the many things our parents did for us to help us foster strong health habits.

As time goes on, you may have an opportunity to return the favor. If your parents are having some difficulty physically handling self-care and hygiene requirements, or if they’re having trouble remembering to do so, you can step in and help them maintain their health to the best of their ability.

Here are some practical tips to make that possible:

Set up friendly reminders

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Simple notes or electronic reminders can help maintain a health routine. 

"It may be necessary to take a more active role in helping maintain proper habits."

If your aging parent is having difficulty remembering to brush and floss their teeth or make their semi-annual appointments with the dentist, arrange to provide reminders as needed.

This could be as simple as a Post-it Note on the bathroom mirror, a phone call near the end of the day, or, if they’re technologically savvy, setting up alerts on their mobile phone.

It may be necessary to take a more active role in helping maintain proper habits by making dental appointments on their behalf and calling to make sure they’re brushing and flossing.

Keep them stocked with supplies

You may already be helping your parents with grocery shopping and purchasing other necessary supplies.

Make sure they have an adequate supply of dental floss, tartar-control toothpaste, and soft-bristled toothbrushes, as well as anything they need to care for dentures, if applicable. This will ensure there’s always at least one of each item available, and if they misplace one, they can pull out another quickly and easily.

Assist them financially

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Seniors have options available to them to save on costly medical care.

If your parents are like a major group of American senior citizens, they’re on a fixed budget and are probably finding the cost of healthcare to be higher than they imagined. When that’s the case, decisions have to be made about what care they can afford.

In an attempt to cut costs for what is not covered through Medicare, dental care is often one of the first health visits to go, especially if they’re not experiencing any current pain or problems. However, maintaining good oral health can be a vital part of maintaining overall health and routine dental visits can serve as an excellent means of catching very serious conditions (like heart disease, diabetes, and potential stroke) early enough to effectively treat.

Make the decision to maintain their oral health easier by enrolling your parents in a dental discount plan. For a very small monthly fee, they can receive significant discounts off nearly all dental services, putting quality dental care within reach of even a tight budget.

Having the opportunity to help our parents out as they get older can draw us closer together as a family. Find out how to save on dental care up to 50% with a dental discount card.

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