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Simple Ways to Help an Alzheimer's Patient with Dental Health

Posted on 6/10/2015 by Anthony M. DiCesare
A woman with Alzheimer's Disease being treated at her dental appointment.Alzheimer's disease is a debilitating disease for both the patient and the family. Watching a family member's memory disappear and their ability to live properly disintegrate is heartbreaking. As you care for your family member, there are certain areas of his life you need to keep a watchful eye over. One such area that often gets overlooked is their dental health. Because Alzheimer's patients cannot often take care of themselves due to their forgetfulness, it is easy to see how their dental health can be greatly compromised.

Rather than letting them become victim of excessive tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss, consider helping them with these simple tips.

Make sure they are Brushing

Brushing a person's teeth twice a day is an essential component of oral health. Because Alzheimer's patients cannot often remember what they need to do or if they did it, this task can often go overlooked. As a caregiver, you need to make sure that this takes place on a daily basis. If brushing does not occur for a period of time, the patient's saliva production is greatly depleted and bacteria and acids are left to sit on his teeth. This is what leads to the destruction of teeth, not to mention bad breath and unpleasant looking teeth. Help the patient brush if it is necessary or just give gentle reminders that it needs to be completed.

Make Sure they are Drinking Water
Water is an essential component to proper oral health. Drinking enough water can help to keep up that saliva production that could be altered by the medication that they are taking for their disease. Water also keeps the body hydrated and helps to wash away food debris and bacteria that would otherwise be left behind to promote tooth decay and gum disease.

Purchase Easy to Use Toothbrushes and Floss

Sometimes dexterity becomes a problem for Alzheimer's patients. This could make proper brushing and flossing difficult for this person. If this occurs, find a toothbrush that they can easily manage, whether it is an angled brush or electric toothbrush that requires less movement while still properly cleaning the teeth. In addition, sometimes flossing aids are necessary, such as threaders, in order to get the floss in between the teeth properly. Flossing is just as important as brushing, so make sure they are doing it at least once a day.

Keep up the Dental Appointments

Chances are you will have to be in charge of your loved one's medical appointments, so make sure regular dental checkup and cleanings are a part of that. Your loved one should be seen at least twice a year, if not more if there are dental issues to handle. This allows us to have a look inside his mouth to see if any issues are occurring or if proper oral hygiene is not being performed. We can provide you with tips to make the process easier for you and the patient, ensuring optimal oral health as you deal with his declining memory and ability to care for himself.

Dealing with a loved one with Alzheimer's can be very difficult, but it is important that you help him stay on top of his oral health. In addition to directly caring for his oral health, make sure he is eating healthy as this will help to promote optimal oral health as well. We will work closely with you to help make your job as easy as possible while keeping your loved one as comfortable as possible for many years to come.

If your loved one has Alzheimer's', bring him in today for an oral health checkup and we will help him get back on track. Please contact us today if you have any questions.
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