From nursing homes to assisted living facilities and those faced with providing care for a family member suffering from Alzheimer’s or a developmental disability, tooth care frequently becomes a daily battle. Hopefully some of these smart suggestions can help.
- Dental hygiene doesn’t have to be confined to the bathroom. Often allowing a person to sit, especially in “their” special chair or some other place in the home or facility where they feel most comfortable is best.
- Frequently an Alzheimer’s patient has literally forgotten how to brush their teeth. One effective method seems to be the “watch me” approach. Get your toothbrush, stand where the person can see you and then begin to brush your teeth. Often they will mimic your actions.
- If someone no longer has the ability to rinse and spit then oral dental swabs may be considered. Afterwards always attempt to rub the teeth and gums with moistened gauze to remove any sticky residue.
- Routine is very important so try to schedule dental care around the same time each day.
- Allow the person to hold their favorite stuffed animal or something else that soothes them. Play soft calming music. Add an element of fun to the procedure by creating a simple game or promising a special treat.
- Whether dealing with daily dental care or during mealtime, always watch for signs of discomfort such as refusing to eat certain foods, not wanting hot or cold liquids and/or facial expressions which indicate pain.
- If at all possible continue to help the person floss by using a floss threader or ask your dentist about special rinses if flossing is no longer an option.
Ellis Dental understands the special challenges caregivers face when it comes to the dental care of their loved ones. For additional tips or to discuss setting up an appointment, please call 314.965.1334 today. We’re here to help.