Oral Care and Dementia

Oral Care and Dementia

Caring for someone with dementia can be very involved. One aspect of health that can easily be overlooked is oral care. This aspect of a senior’s health is important to keep up with consistently so that other health issues do not develop as a result of neglect. An abscess in the mouth can lead to many serious complications, cause undue pain and suffering, and interfere with a senior’s ability to get proper nutrition. Because dental problems can worsen quickly, every caregiver should make dentist appointments and daily dental care an important part of their loved one’s care plan.

Teeth Cleanings For Seniors

Most routine cleaning is covered under insurance. Because daily brushing can be a difficult task to get people with dementia to do, it is suggested that extra cleanings are scheduled. These scheduled visits can help with the upkeep of good oral health that includes prevention of plaque and tartar build up and prevention of serious gum diseases. Routine and frequent appointments are especially important to combat already existing oral complications.

As dementia progresses, elderly people can become increasingly irritated and defiant in relation to cleanings. This is expected, as dentist appointments can be stressful and uncomfortable. If you are able, attend appointments with your loved one. You should also seek out a dentist who is experienced and comfortable working with people who have dementia. This can make the entire visit more comfortable and smooth. Eventually trips to the dentist will become too much. When this day arrives, you can assist your loved one with flossing, brushing and rinsing as much as possible.

4 Oral Care & Dementia Tips

While a dementia patient’s health is usually a caregiver’s main focus, quality of life is equally important. The following tips are the best way to maintain good oral health from day to day.

  1. Allow consumption of sweets (in moderation) – With the doctor’s permission, there is no reason not to live a little. You could even have a piece of pie with them!
  2. Drink water after eating foods that are high in sugar – This will help to flush out residual food particles and bacteria, preventing the buildup of tartar and plaque. Proper hydration also helps to keep their mouth moist and inhibit bacterial growth.
  3. Eat lots of fruit – surprisingly, this is a great too for maintaining dental hygiene. Ending every meal with small portions of fruit is a great way to incorporate it into their diet.
  4. Floss regularly – While this can be difficult to maintain, it is one of the most important parts to the oral care routine. You could even purchase disposable floss tools that can be efficient and convenient.

All the above suggestions may not work for everyone, but these strategies can certainly help with oral care for people with dementia. Hopefully these tips can help you develop or adapt a similar plan that works for you and your loved one. Orchard at Brookhaven is a luxury assisted living facility in Atlanta that’s here to help you and your loved one create or implement a plan. If you think our community may be the place for you, please call us today.