Having a family member with Alzheimer’s can be difficult, and it requires a lot of dedication by you or the caregiver to ensure your family member’s well-being and health. As many sites are noting, scientists are discovering a link between Alzheimer’s patients and poor dental health. Whether this is the cause, an exacerbating factor, or simply a byproduct of Alzheimer’s Disease, taking care of your teeth is still critically important to ensure good dental health, but maybe even good mental health. If you or a loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s, here are some tips to make the process more manageable and help ensure great dental health.
Taking Care of Your Teeth with Alzheimer’s
- Ensuring Brushing and Flossing Gets Done — One of the most significant problems Alzheimer’s patients have with oral hygiene is remembering to actually brush or floss in the first place, as well as the frequent inability to remember whether they already have brushed or not. Though it’s not always possible, begin to manage your loved one’s brushing by telling them when to brush and floss and help them. Likewise, you could make a daily to-do list or have them check off a checklist when they have completed brushing and flossing. All of this is dependent on the severity of the Alzheimer’s.
- Use the Right Toothbrush — Sometimes Alzheimer’s patients can forget how to do even simple things such as brushing their teeth. It is important to find a toothbrush for Alzheimer’s patients that they find comfortable and easy to use. Some people like to opt for an electric toothbrush because they find it can perform a good job at brushing even when users can’t, but some Alzheimer’s patients find electric toothbrushes confusing and difficult. Find out works best for you or your loved one.
- Use the Right Floss — Almost exactly the same as above, flossing can be a difficult task for the average Alzheimer’s patient. Inherently a difficult activity, flossing can be incredibly difficult for Alzheimer’s patients. As a result, sometimes using floss holders or other alternatives can be to the benefit of an Alzheimer’s patient. Talk to your dentist to see if they have any suggestions.
- Do Regular Check-Ups — It’s important for everybody to have their teeth regularly checked to ensure they are healthy. In the case of Alzheimer’s patients this is no different, and perhaps even more important. Some professional caregivers suggest you regularly check a loved one’s mouth for any swollen gums or signs of gum disease. Likewise, you should schedule regular appointments with a dentist for an Alzheimer’s patient and talk about their treatment needs and problem spots.
If you or a loved one have Alzheimer’s disease, and have questions about how that can be treated, contact Lakeway Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry today to learn more.