Failing dental health is a concern for us all, regardless of age. In the elderly and those who experience physical limitations it can be particularly troublesome. Concerns such as limited range of motion can make it difficult for these patients to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine. When conditions that impair cognitive ability are present, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, their struggle to maintain good oral health can become even more difficult. Alzheimer’s Disease is prevalent in the United States, standing as the sixth most frequently recorded cause of death. Understanding its impact on oral health and hygiene practices is important in maintaining their quality of life throughout.
It takes more than seeing your dentist twice a year to keep your smile looking great, it also requires a commitment to a daily hygiene routine involving brushing, flossing, and mouthwash. While keeping up with this practice is generally easy for the average patient, it can present a significant struggle to those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. This condition causes patients cognitive ability to decline, having significant effects on memory and situational awareness. These difficulties contribute to the findings of a study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health that links oral health concerns and Alzheimer’s Disease in affected patients.
Periodontal disease is just one of the conditions that those affected by this neurodegenerative disease have trouble fending off. As with periodontal disease, these difficulties represent secondary effects of the primary cognitive symptoms. The inability to maintain a steady schedule and stick with basic practices result in the occurrence of otherwise avoidable symptoms.
Just as with any other provider of medical health services, its essential that your dentist have a thorough understanding of the conditions affecting you. A compassionate and dedicated dentist will strive to provide an oral health approach that treats the patient with respect and addresses the concerns they face in keeping their teeth healthy. Things that can aid these patients with receiving dental care include:
If you or a loved one is living with Alzheimer’s and is in need of special accommodations to get proper oral health care, reach out to your provider today. They’ll speak with you to determine what steps can be taken to ensure they receive the care they need to live a long and healthy life with a healthy smile.