January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month
If you are caregiver to a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s, you may need to assist them with proper denture and oral care. In the early and middle stages of the disease, this may mean offering support, reminders, and coaching. In the later stages of the disease, you may need to take over responsibility for this care.
Here are some tips to assist you in maintaining your loved one’s good denture and oral health.
Connect with the patient’s Denturist
Once you have received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, it is important to establish a denture and oral care program as soon as possible. As dementia is a progressive condition (it gets worse over time), scheduling an appointment with a Denturist will help to preserve your loved one’s oral health and reduce the risk of poor oral health starting to develop.
Schedule annual denture check-ups
Yearly appointments with the denturist will help the Alzheimer’s patient avoid denture emergencies and ensure optimal denture care, health, and functionality.
Try to maintain a current list of the patient’s medications for your Denturist. Bring this list with you to every Denturist appointment. Some prescription medications can cause dry mouth, involuntary and repetitive tongue and jaw movement, or tooth decay, all of which can adversely affect denture comfort and fit. The better you keep your Denturist informed, the better care and treatment they will be able to provide to your loved one.
Understand that oral care needs will change
In the early stages of dementia, your loved one may be able to carry out their own mouth care and be able to communicate effectively with their Denturist. However, you may need to remind them to do it, supervise them, or provide instruction on how to properly clean their dentures, oral cavity, and any remaining teeth.
As Alzheimer’s progresses, your loved one may lose the ability to clean their dentures and oral cavity, stop understanding that their teeth need to be kept clean, or lose interest in doing so. If this happens, you may need to take over this task.
A Denturist can provide guidance and support to help you assist your loved one with proper denture and oral care procedures through all stages of dementia. In early Alzheimer’s, patients may be able to communicate effectively with their Denturist and participate in treatment planning. As the disease progresses, you may need to communicate on behalf of the patient and advocate on behalf of your loved one.
Good denture and oral health can make eating and digesting food easier for an Alzheimer’s patient, improving their overall quality of life. And as Alzheimer’s progresses, your loved one will depend on you more and more for assistance with dental care. We encourage you to keep connected with a Denturist for assistance, information, and support to help you in your dental caregiving tasks.