Today I’ll revisit the importance of physical dexterity and brushing your teeth – or making sure that a loved one who might have some physical challenges isn’t allowing that to impede them keeping up with proper oral hygiene.
The issue of aging can be uncomfortable for any one of us to have to face. However, there are a couple of issues that can have tremendous quality of life consequences. The two are impaired manual dexterity and impaired vision, with the latter being the most addressed between the two. However, the former is just as important since it plays such an important part of enjoying each day.
.Both can have negative consequences and the care of the mouth can certainly affect the rest of the body.
The issue of impaired dexterity is important because if someone cannot brush and floss properly, then they can suffer dental problems that could have an impact elsewhere (say how gingivitis has been shown to possibly be a factor in post-operative heart value problems or the overall issue of inflammation’s effect throughout the body).
In the final analysis, problems caused by improper brushing can result in a person altering his or her diet to avoid aggravating parts of their mouth – this usually leads to a loss of quality of life.
The biggest challenge is identifying the problem. You might not be able to diagnose it yourself, so you might want to ask your caregiver or the family member who is most familiar with you and ask if they have noticed any impaired movement issues.
Also, if you are the caregiver or family member, you might want to be on the lookout for any potential dexterity challenge your loved one may experience. Only you as a close family member can spot changes over time that might elude your loved one.
Further, people in long-term care situations either at home or a facility are the most likely to experience these issues. A study by the National Institute of Health said, “Results suggest oral hygiene ability is decreased among long term care residents, that dexterity tests can help identify patients unable to perform adequate oral self-care, and that these tests could be used to estimate brushing ability among elderly compromised patients.”