Proper Oral Care for Dementia Patients

Caring for patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s can prove challenging.  Patients often resist care oral health because they feel threatened.  Caring for their oral health can be easier thanks to a group of nurses at Penn State School of Nursing.  The nurses developed a plan, Managing Oral Hygiene Using Threat Reduction, to assist caregivers in providing oral hygiene to patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

The nurses created the plan to reduce threat perception among these patients. They suggest that caregivers smile while they interact with the patients, approach them at eye level, pantomime, and gently hold the patient’s hand while brushing teeth.

The number of patients in nursing homes who still have natural teeth is rising, due to proper oral hygiene. By using the threat reduction plan, caregivers can provide oral hygiene assistance in a more effective and friendly manner.

Several studies show a connection between periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease. With proper oral hygiene, brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, rinsing after meals, and visiting the dentist every six months for deep cleaning and checkup, the risk of periodontal disease decreases.

Dr. James Stewart, a Livonia dentist, has experience caring for elderly patients and knows the challenges commonly associated with senior dental health. If you are a caregiver for a patient with Alzheimer’s or dementia, contact Dr. Stewart at (734)425.4400 to schedule an appointment. Dr. Stewart cares for patients from Livonia, Farmington, Farmington Hills, and surrounding areas.