Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease that affects the body in many ways. Providing a good quality of life is often the goal of family and an important part of that is dental care. It’s unfortunately the case that many Alzheimer’s patients suffer from dental issues, many of which are completely avoidable. As a dentist of 20 years, I’m committed to helping families care for their loved ones. Let’s look at some easy ways you can keep your friend or loved ones mouth healthy.
Daily Oral Care
First up, maintaining daily oral care at home is very important. This includes brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s can affect an individual’s ability to follow proper care techniques, so it’s important to provide assistance along the way.
To start, it’s important to give the individual clear, discrete instructions. Things like “hold your toothbrush” are good while “brush your teeth” might be a bit too ambiguous. You want to make sure that the instructions you give are short and easy to follow as these are typically easier to follow for Alzheimer’s patients. Show them how on your fist is also another good technique.
If neither of those work, it’s also acceptable to gently brush for them or show them how. Do this with care, and never force it as it can cause pain to the other person. If they are completely uncooperative it’s okay to try again at a later time. Brushing is important, so wait an hour and try again.
Working With Your Dentist
At home care is only half the puzzle, the other part is regular visits to the dentist. A dentist can provide a much deeper clean, and remove built up plaque and tartar. You can’t get rid of this at home, and they will eventually wear away at your teeth.
A dentist will also be able to provide feedback on at home habits and let you know how effective is has been. Many people think they’re taking good care of their teeth, but then come to learn that they haven’t been. A dentist will let you know what’s working, and help make corrections if needed.
An important aspect of working with a dentist is to find the right one. Before going to a new dentist, ask if they have experience working with Alzheimer’s patients. This is important, as to be an effective dentist understanding the disease is critical.
Lastly, it’s also important to coordinate medical treatment with your dentist. If the individual is on any sort of medications, it’s very important to disclose this to the dentist. This is because many medications can interact in harmful ways. In order for a dentist to prescribe safe medications they need to understand the complete picture and choose the ones that will not interact.
Following the above, you can hopefully help keep your loved ones mouths healthy and provide them with a better quality of life. Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease, but with a little care at least we can help them live their best life with a healthy mouth.
Dr. Amanda Tavoularis (dentably.com) For more information go to:https://www.emergencydentistsusa.com/alzheimers-dental-care/ [u11709497.ct.sendgrid.net]
Dr. Amanda Tavoularis has been committed to excellent dentistry for over 20 years. She studied at the University of Washington School of Dentistry and has gone on to complete over 200 hours of study at the prestigious Kois Center located in Seattle. She belongs to numerous dentistry networks including the American Dental Association and the Wellness Dentistry Network. With being a female dentist on the Dentably team, Dr. Amanda can provide her expertise for dental care for women as well as expecting mothers. She has a son of her own and is committed to providing the most accurate information possible for patients.