Dental care is extremely important for everyone, especially those living with life altering conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Simple things, like tooth brushing and flossing, can be very difficult for people with dementia. He or she may forget what to do with toothpaste or how to rinse – and may resist help.
How To Encourage Dementia Patients to Brush Their Teeth
THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® urges all people who are caregivers of someone with Alzheimer’s Disease to find a way to keep dementia patients on an oral health regimen. Provide short and simple instructions. Rather than saying “brush your teeth,” walk them through the process.
And, help them with clear instructions.
For example you might say: “Hold your toothbrush. Now, let’s put some toothpaste on the brush. Good, now let’s brush.”
Try the “watch me” technique. You hold the toothbrush and demonstrate how to use it. Or put your hand over their hand and gently guide the brushing. If the person gets agitated or uncooperative when you do this, put it off until later in the day.
If all else fails, you can ask if you can do the brushing for them.
Special Floss For Dementia Patients
Flossing is also important, but if that causes a problem, try to use a “proxabrush” to clean between the teeth. Proxabrushes are sold in most pharmacies, such as Walgreens or RiteAid.
Don’t neglect denture care. Caregivers should remove and clean dentures every night – and very gently, brush the person’s gums, tongue and roof of the mouth. Notice any signs of mouth discomfort during mealtime. Refusing to eat or strained facial expressions while eating may indicate mouth pain or dentures that don’t fit properly.
Last, and most importantly, be sure to keep up with regular dental visits for as long as possible. Seeing us regularly is essential for healthy teeth. You can also ask us for suggestions or items that may help make dental care for people with dementia a bit easier.
ABOUT THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®
THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently situated with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we offer most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures, complete dental rebuilding, sleep apnea, and TMJ/ Headache management. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable up-to-date dentistry and a team who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.