We all have ageing parents and relatives who need special care. We must be aware of issues and impediments that may get in the way of their health, one of these is the improper care of dentures. An improper fit can prevent them from eating the right food, and improper cleaning can encourage bacteria into their system.
Below is an article regarding denture use and care that can make enjoyment of food and life in general more bearable for the elderly . . .
Addressing the Unrecognized Health Issues of Denture Wearers
She used to be the most energetic and lively person in the world, but gradually, your mom started to look tired and fatigued. She used to love cooking Sunday lunches for the family, tirelessly laboring in the kitchen to serve her specialty Kare-Kare. Now, Sunday lunch is a rare occurrence, and during the times it happens, your family would just order take-out food.
Your dad used to be the “athlete” in the family. He used to play Tennis, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, basketball on Tuesday and Thursday and Golf on Saturday. On top of that, he had an 8-5 workday. He used to be the busiest man, but now, it seems that he has lost his zest for life and has transformed into a couch potato.
Sounds familiar? One need not look far to encounter issues such as these. It’s a common scene across families and with loved ones. These are just some symptoms of the unrecognized health issue amongst the elderly, which may arise from improper nutrition.
One major factor why it remains an unrecognized health issue is because we normally assume that as long as a person eats and exercises regularly, he/she is naturally healthy and not malnourished. But the truth is, a proper diet and food absorption is key to being a healthy.
Studies show that the proper mastication of our food is a major contributing factor on whether we properly absorb its nutrients. While for most of us, chewing is not a major concern, 28% of the population may have trouble chewing their food because they are either toothless or are wearing dentures.
And simply having dentures is not enough. ‘A lot of denture users are not aware that there is a proper way of wearing it. It’s not enough that it fits, it has to fit properly”, says Dr. Nunez, DMD, RDT. “This is because an ill-fitting denture will prevent a person from properly chewing their food, thus the body will not absorb the nutrient that it needs which may lead to an undiagnosed case of malnutrition.” More so, if a denture is ill-fitting, the denture wearer will usually avoid foods that are challenging to eat such as nuts, fruits and vegetables.
In fact, according to Dr. Nunez, a denture is only good for up to a maximum of five years. Also, contrary to the belief that denture users need not see their dentists, it is equally important if not more, for them to have a regular dental check-up. It is only through a regular dental check-up that a dentist can assess whether a denture fits properly.
“Another common problem is that a lot of denture users brush their dentures with a regular toothbrush and toothpaste.” adds Dr. Nunez. This is a big no – no because unlike our natural teeth, dentures are more porous thus, it requires more cleaning. But brushing it with regular toothbrush and toothpaste won’t work, because it will create abrasions on the dentures where food sediments may get stuck thus, harboring bacteria that may cause, not only bad breath, but bacteria that may contribute to stomatitis, pneumonia and other diseases.
The good news is that, in the advocacy event called, A HEALTHY LIFE IN EVERY BITE, GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Polident, in cooperation with dental experts, aims to highlight the effects of improper use and care of dentures, which can ultimately lead to health issues amongst denture wearers. Dr. Nunez talked about ways to take care of your dentures and mentioned the usage of Denture adhesives and cleansers as one of the best ways to care for the dentures. Polident offers a denture adhesive cream and powder which can give denture wearers up to 12 hours of hold and properly fitting dentures, giving them the ability to eat, speak and smile with confidence. Polident adhesive cream can help ensure that denture wearers are able to eat the food they want and need, in turn enabling them to get the nutrition they need to live a healthy life. Polident also offers denture cleansing tablets, which kills 99.9% of odor-causing bacteria proven in lab testing. The denture tablets clean your dentures without scratching, which also help preserve the life of your dentures. Participants were also taught how to take advantage of products that help clean their dentures and keep them properly fit.
“This is a momentous event for the Philippine Dental Health. For the first time, we are recognizing and addressing a health issue that has always been put in the back burner. Our senior citizens are an underserved sector, so much so that we didn’t see one of their prevalent health concerns and its cause. I hope this event will help us realize that we should bite this issue at its very core”, ends Dr. Nunez.