Senior Care Blog Wayland and Weston

Tips for Keeping Your Parent's Breath Fresher

By Denise Roskamp

Elder Care in Natick MA

August 6 is National Fresh Breath Day. If your elderly parent is suffering from bad breath, it could impact their self-esteem, self-confidence, and willingness to engage in social behaviors. This could have a serious impact on their mental and emotional health, and even increase their rate of physical decline as they cope with not getting enough activity and interaction. Fortunately there are things that can be done to make keeping their breath fresher and more appealing something that your parent can achieve with your help or the care of a senior care provider.

Use these tips to help keep your parent's breath fresher:

  • Brush regularly. One of the simplest and yet most effective means of keeping your parent's breath fresh and their mouth healthy is to encourage them to brush their teeth regularly. They should brush their teeth at least in the morning and the evening, but preferably after every meal, snack, and beverage other than water. This will remove the plaque, bacteria, and germs that can cause bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease.
  • Floss. Brushing is not enough to keep your parent's mouth completely clean and remove all of the materials and debris that can cause bad breath. Toothbrushes cannot get down in between the teeth or to the gum line to remove these particles. Flossing, however, gets into these smaller areas to remove the particles and germs so that they do not break down and create bad breath. This also an effective way of reducing the chances of tooth decay, gum disease, and infections. If conventional floss is too difficult for your parent to handle on their own, consider individual flossers or a water flosser.
  • Keep the mouth moist. Many issues can arise when your parent's mouth dries out. Saliva is vital for washing the mouth out, removing bacteria, germs, and debris, and when there is not enough, these simply build up in the mouth. Keeping the mouth moist helps to clean it out even if there is not enough saliva to do it naturally. Encourage your parent to sip water throughout the day. Sucking on sugar-free hard candy can stimulate the natural production of saliva, keeping the mouth more moist. If these do not work for them, talk to your parent's dentist about possibly using enzyme products to keep the mouth more moist.
  • Detect issues. Just keeping your parent's breath fresh might not be enough. If they are suffering from serious halitosis, or breath smells that are different than usual, it could be an indication of serious health complications. Issues such as diabetes, kidney failure, and even lung cancer can all cause bad breath symptoms. If you notice any strange breath symptoms, or your parent seems to always have bad breath even when they take care of their mouths, be sure to talk to their dentist or their primary care doctor about it. They can determine what may be causing the problem and get your parent on any treatment that might be necessary to resolve the issue.