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Elder Care Advice: The Importance of Dental Care for Seniors with Dementia

Feb 1, 2017 by Becky Cross

Despite memory loss issues due to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it is crucial that your loved one’s dental care is maintained. As elder care providers explain, your mom or dad may not be able to identify if they are having pain in their mouth due to tooth decay, periodontal issues or poorly fitting dentures. In fact, even if you were to ask them, you may not get the appropriate answer needed to treat the problem if there is one. A caregiver can arrange regular dental visits.

 

Studies show that if your parent has dementia, they are at risk for dental problems leading to diseases of the mouth that can cause infections, which can spread to the bloodstream. Therefore, it is important to keep your parent actively involved in their personal care, including brushing their teeth, flossing and rinsing as long as they are capable. As your loved one’s memory loss worsens and their cognitive abilities decline, an elder care provider can help brush your loved one’s teeth and wipe out their mouth.

 

The American Dental Association can connect your mom or dad to an Abilene dentist who is trained to work with patients who have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It is best to explain to your loved one what is going to happen during the visit to reduce their apprehension. A dentist who is familiar working with dementia patients understands that your mother or father must be approached in a special way, so as not to upset them.

 

Typically, elder care aides explain, the dentist will go step-by-step. Appointments may be slow and somewhat tedious to accommodate your mom or dad’s needs. It is worth it, though, because maintaining good dental health can lead to better overall health.

 

To find a caregiver who can assist your loved one with their oral hygiene needs, contact your local Comfort Keepers office.

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