Senior Care News

Dental Hygiene for Dementia Patients

Seniors with dementia often have more difficulty with personal care tasks as dementia progresses. Dental hygiene is still just as important as ever, so it’s important to have a plan.
Alzheimer's Home Care in Alexandria VA

Maintaining proper dental hygiene is important for seniors of all ages and all health levels. Seniors with dementia may need some extra help with dental hygiene, however. Daily mouth care often becomes more difficult and memory issues compound the situation. Alzheimer’s home care providers can help family caregivers put the right strategies in place to maintain good oral health for seniors with dementia.

Why is Daily Mouth Care Important?

Daily mouth care is crucial because of the impact it has on every other area of someone’s life. Cavities, infections, gum disease, and more all make it more difficult for seniors to eat properly and to enjoy life. Proper daily dental hygiene can prevent a great many dental problems ranging from plaque buildup to bigger problems. It’s also important to understand that poor dental health can lead to health issues like diabetes, respiratory infections, and heart disease. Keeping the mouth healthy can keep the person healthier. Good dental hygiene also helps seniors feel more confident when they’re around other people.

Adapting Toothbrushing Routines

Dementia is challenging because it affects different parts of the brain, meaning that seniors are affected in different ways. Some seniors find it difficult to hold items that they didn’t have trouble handling before, for instance. Or they might develop sensory issues that make brushing feel painful. Alzheimer’s home care providers can help to simplify the dental hygiene routine. Breaking down the process can make it easier for seniors to remember what comes next. Using tools that are made for seniors to hold more easily can also help. At some point, Alzheimer’s care providers may also help with hands-on brushing and flossing assistance. The big key is to have a routine that works.

Dental Visits

A key piece of any dental hygiene plan involves visits to the dentist. That might not be easy for seniors with dementia to do because of memory issues and transportation challenges. Alzheimer’s care providers can help seniors get to the dentist when they have an appointment. They can also help to remind seniors well before the appointment so that they can prepare mentally and emotionally for the visit to the dentist. Sometimes seniors with dementia become afraid of visiting the dentist, even if they weren’t afraid to do so in the past. Alzheimer’s care providers can offer emotional support during the visit, helping seniors feel calmer.

Communicating with Seniors and Family Caregivers

Communication is always important. If Alzheimer’s care providers notice changes in dental health, they can make sure that family caregivers are aware of what is going on. They can also help to keep family members involved in how dental hygiene routines are changing and whether seniors need dental work after a dentist visit or not. Staying informed helps everyone involved to prepare seniors with dementia for what might come next.

Good dental hygiene is possible for seniors with dementia, but they might need a little bit of extra help. Alzheimer’s care providers can help to adapt routines and develop new ones when necessary. They can also help seniors to stay on track with dental hygiene goals and make it to appointments when it’s time.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Alzheimer’s Home Care in Alexandria, VA, please contact the caring staff at Access Home Care Inc today! Call (703) 765-9350
Access Home Care provider in Arlington, Alexandria, Leesburg, Reston, Herndon, Manassas, Ashburn, Falls Church, McLean, Lorton, Springfield, Woodbridge, Fairfax, Virginia and the surrounding communities.
Anna Mensah-Nti, MSN-Ed, BSN, RN Founder

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