Dr Sheliza Asaria, a general dentist based in Surrey, met with our Oral Health Champion, Aimee Finnis, to discuss the importance of oral health for our clients.
Why is oral health so important?
Oral health is important as it is part of overall well-being.
Poor oral health can adversely impact one’s general health and quality of life. For example, poor oral health can result in pain, difficulty chewing and speaking clearly, and affect your self-confidence.
Is a visit to the dentist needed if you don’t have teeth?
Many people mistakenly believe that only people with teeth need to visit a dentist regularly. A dentist not only checks your teeth but is also concerned with the health of your gums and soft tissues. A dentist will check that there are no signs of disease and will check for early signs of oral cancer. It is therefore strongly recommended to visit a dentist regularly, even if you do not have teeth.
If you wear full dentures, visit the dentist to check the fit of the dentures and the health of the soft tissues. If you wear partial dentures, the dentist will examine the remaining teeth to check that they are healthy. It is important to look after the remaining teeth, as these may affect the fit and comfort of your denture.
How many times a day should you brush your teeth?
I advise my patients to brush their teeth twice daily with a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride helps to prevent decay. Also aim to clean between the teeth daily by use of floss or other interdental cleaning aids, such as interdental brushes.
Are sugars bad for the teeth?
Frequent consumption of sugary foods and drinks can lead to decay, so I encourage patients to limit the consumption of these to mealtimes only.
Acidic foods and drinks are also something to be aware of as too much of these can lead to acid erosion of the teeth. Your dentist should check for any signs of erosion to your teeth and may advise you to limit the consumption of acidic foods and drinks to mealtimes only too.
What should I do if my arthritis is making brushing and flossing difficult?
Brushing and cleaning between your teeth is critical to reduce the risk of decay and gum disease. If health problems such as arthritis are making it difficult to clean your teeth, speak to your dentist and other members of the dental team for advice. If you are still able to hold and manipulate a toothbrush, you may prefer an electric toothbrush. Many electric toothbrushes have wider handles, making them easier to grip.
What does my oral health have to do with the rest of my health?
Good oral health can have a positive impact on your overall health. There is evidence to suggest that infections in the mouth can be linked with problems in other parts of the body.
Problems that may be made worse by poor dental health include:
Take steps to improve your oral health to reduce your risk of oral disease and infections.
Why do I get mouth ulcers?
Mouth ulcers are common and should clear up on their own within a week or 2. But see a GP or dentist if you have a mouth ulcer that lasts longer than 3 weeks. Although most mouth ulcers are harmless, a long-lasting mouth ulcer is sometimes a sign of mouth cancer. It’s best to get it checked.
Most single mouth ulcers are caused by things you can try to avoid such as:
Biting the inside of your cheek
Badly fitting dentures, rough fillings, or a sharp tooth
Cuts or burns whilst drinking or eating
Damaging your gums with a toothbrush or irritating toothpaste
Remember to seek advice from your GP or dentist if you have an ulcer that lasts longer than 3 weeks or if you have any other concerns relating to ulcers or lesions in the mouth.
Making sure your loved ones have access to a dentist and oral hygiene at home is the best way to keep their mouths healthy. For more information or to get advice on dental care then please visit: www.dentalhealth.org.
Looking after a loved one with care needs can sometimes be overwhelming. The process of researching help can be daunting. There are a lot of things to consider. For example, what type of care does your loved one need? Is it support a few times a day, or is it 24-hour a day help? Is your home adapted for a carer to live with you? Does your loved one have mobility equipment that requires two carers for safety?
There are also different care options to consider.
If your loved one needs full-time professional care but wants to remain at home, live-in care is the ideal solution. Live-in care services provide one-to-one, 24-hour bespoke care for your loved one in the comfort, security, and familiar surroundings of their own home with the support of a carer.
If your loved one is still safe living alone or with family at home and only needs a companionship visit, or support with bathing, preparing meals or medication, hourly care can be a better option.
So, what questions should you ask when choosing a care provider?
Ask them about their approach to staff recruitment
– What are their standards for hiring carers?
– How many references do they check for each new hire?
Find out what they do about staff training
– What training do staff receive?
– How many days of training?
– Do carers come and meet your loved one before they start the care?
– Are carers trained in caring for clients with dementia?
What are they like as a business?
– What are the company values?
– How are their staff treated?
– Are they paid for training?
– Are they paid for travel time between clients?
– Are they given enough time to travel between two clients?
Ask what happens about carer continuity
– Will you have the same carer every visit or will you have new ones?
– What happens if a carer is away or off sick?
– Are clients and their families involved in decisions about their care?
What type of awards and reviews does the provider have?
– Does the provider have a positive rating from the Care Quality Commission (they are the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England)? You can verify by visiting their website (www.cqc.org.uk) and typing in the name of the provider.
– Has the provider won awards?
– Do they have good reviews and testimonials?
– Can you speak with their current clients to get their feedback?
What has inspired you to get involved in the care industry?
I have always known I wanted to be out working within the community, the idea of an office job sitting at a computer all day never inspired me the same way. Sharing experiences and caring for others seemed like the ideal job, so after my degree I decided to start caring in the community and it was more rewarding than I expected.
Why did you choose Comfort Care At Home®?
What appealed to me about this company was their focus on supporting us as carers. I am a strong advocate that we need to care for our own mental wellbeing in order to give the best care you can to others. Comfort Care At Home® has consistently shown this effort to check in with us and form supportive and communicative teams. I always feel like I can come to my manager and team when necessary. They won the Employer of the Year award for South London businesses, which shows how much they care for and invest in their staff.
Any special moments you would like to share?
The ability to form strong bonds with clients over a period of time has been one of the most nourishing experiences of caring. One client in particular has shown a real trust in me with time and gets excited to see me. I think these are the moments that show how important our role as a carer is. We really can play a special part in people’s lives.
What do you love most about your job and working for Comfort Care At Home®?
I love seeing the effects of your hard work, seeing people happy and well in your care. You never have the same day twice, each client involves something different and it’s so refreshing to have a vast array of unique experiences. Working with the elderly gives you a whole new perspective on life and you can take little pieces of their wisdom along with you on your journey. I also love how local it is, I use my bike to get around so I get my daily exercise in whilst working… bonus!
What advice would you give someone considering care work?
I would say go for it! Care work takes courage, commitment and empathy. It takes a resilient person to do care work and commit to it. If you like a challenge where you can grow as a person through others and see worthwhile rewards from your work, then it would be a great role for you.