Poor oral health can affect overall physical health at any age. Without treatment, poor oral health can lead to pain, infection, malnutrition and even serious illnesses. Therefore, it’s important to incorporate good oral health habits into all stages of life. So if you’re weighing options for a long-term care facility for yourself or a loved one, ask them how oral health practices are incorporated into their care program.
More long-term care homes have expanded their nurse training to incorporate dental care. For example, the HDS Foundation created the Kupuna Smiles — Oral Health Training Program for nurses and other professionals who provide healthcare for seniors. Through this program, dental hygienists have conducted hands-on training for more than 80 registered nurses, certified nurse assistants and the managerial nursing staff of The Clarence TC Ching Villas at St. Francis in Liliha. Hygienists instructed each staff member on how to properly brush and floss patients’ teeth and care for dentures, reach difficult spots in the mouth, work carefully around mouth sores and identify signs of decay.
Long-term care facilities should prioritize oral health, especially if patients are unable to brush and floss on their own. The formula for good oral health is to brush, floss and see a dentist so you can live well and smile more!