How Dental Care Can Enhance the Quality of Life for People with Alzheimer’s Disease

How Dental Care Can Enhance the Quality of Life for People with Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted by DR. DOWSETT on Jun 21 2021, 05:32 AM

According to the Alzheimer’s Organization, people with dementia are at risk of forgetting how to brush their teeth or even understand the importance of maintaining a daily oral care routine. 

This can lead to the development of severe dental problems and, as gum disease in particular is linked to other health issues, it can also cause infections in other parts of the body. 

To prevent any such problems and improve the quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s disease, caregivers must take a hands-on approach to encourage proper daily oral care. 

How to Encourage Daily Oral Care

Studies have found that, in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, people are still able to take care of their oral health. At this point, dentists recommend that they supplement their oral health routines with regular dental checkups and regular cleanups in order to prevent any serious conditions from developing. 

At later stages of the illness, patients are more likely to forget simple things like what toothpaste is used for or what rinsing is. This is when it is particularly important for caregivers to follow the steps below to encourage good oral health in Alzheimer’s patients:

  • Get Them to Mimic You

Show them how to brush their teeth by pretending to brush yourself. If that doesn’t work, put your hand over theirs and guide them through the brushing process. Be watchful about their mood and try again later if they are uncooperative.

  • Give Them Simple Instructions

Asking them to brush their teeth every day is a difficult instruction to follow for people with Alzheimer’s. Therefore, you’ll need to break your instructions into smaller, easier steps. Try telling them to hold their brush at first, then to apply the toothpaste, and then to brush their teeth.

  • Practice the Routine Twice a Day

Make sure you follow through with using the steps above to encourage them to maintain a daily routine. If they are not able to do it themselves, you will need to help them brush their teeth twice a day and floss regularly. 

Neglecting oral care especially in old age can lead to severe health problems due to the rapid buildup of bacteria. For people with Alzheimer’s, the responsibility to prevent the development of severe dental and overall health issues is often on the caregivers. They have to use the right approach to encourage proper routines and thus enhance the quality of life for people suffering from this illness.

For more tips and suggestions on how to go about offering oral care to patients with Alzheimer’s, get in touch with Complete Health Dentistry of Portland by calling (503) 253-1262, booking an appointment online, or visiting us at Northeast Glisan Street, Portland, OR 97220. 



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