How Dementia and Alzheimer’s Create Oral Health Problems

Elderly woman with Alzheimer's

Faithfully sticking to your oral hygiene routine will ensure you can maintain great oral health. When you make certain that you are also seeing your dentist twice a year, the results are even better. It is unfortunate that some patients, as they age, find that it becomes more difficult to maintain routines. Both brushing regularly and remembering to make their appointments can become a herculean feat. This is especially true for those suffering from any form of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s. Recent studies have revealed that these conditions are on the rise.

How Dementia and Alzheimer’s Create Oral Health Problems

As these diagnoses continue to increase, the awareness of the many health problems that come with it does as well. It has become so significant as to be ranked as the sixth most frequent reason for death in Americans. This is all due to the broader consequences of being unable to maintain a schedule effectively. Daily routines, making and keeping appointments, and remembering to take medication all suffer for those with dementia.

The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health released a study showing the consequences those living with dementia face. Among these results is evidence that oral health is one area that begins to suffer for these patients. Every year, another ten million diagnoses are made for dementia, with nearly half being for Alzheimer’s. Each year this number seems to be increasing, with greater lifespans being at least partially responsible. While the medical industry continues to improve both the length and quality of our lives, Alzheimer’s continues to be a persistent foe.

How Dementia Patients Can Be Aided By Their Dentist

It has become increasingly important for dental and medical providers to ensure that patients with Alzheimer’s are provided for. The efforts being made include introducing new care methods and techniques that address their particular needs. Speaking to your dentist or that of the affected individual can yield a surprising number of options.

  • Extended protection from sealant treatments and fluoride
  • Coordinating oral health care for dementia patients
  • Treatment plans designed for dementia patients
  • Coordinating with insurance providers for alternate forms of treatment
  • Flexible times and dates for appointments that coincide with good focus periods

Effective treatment for patients results from efforts like these. Family members, and caretakers can work together with dentists, insurance companies, and medical providers to find an effective treatment for these patients. For these treatments to be effective, the reality of the patient’s condition must be considered. As the patient’s condition advances, it’s important that their care method adapts with them.

Involving your dentist in discussions of their care is the most effective way to ensure they get what they need. They’ll be able to deliver the options they have available for accommodating their care. You can get even more effective results by getting their caretaker, medical provider, and dentist all working together to develop methods of care. The sooner you get started with coordinating this care, the more effective the efforts at preventing oral health concerns will be.

April Toyer, DDS, FAAPD
April Toyer, DDS, FAAPD

The team at Lifetime Dental Care brings a full range of services to patients in and around the Woodbridge, VA area. These four doctors bring a range of experience, diverse backgrounds, and professional knowledge together to provide families with a safe and friendly home for their oral health needs.


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