As a caregiver there are many challenges that you face on a daily basis when taking care of your patient or loved one. One of these challenges is keeping their oral health at their best.
Without making sure to keep their mouth brushed and flossed, there is a serious risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and loss of teeth. This will severely reduce their quality of life – but even then, I am available to help those in Manhattan improve their quality of life through the use of full and partial dentures.
After working with the homebound and elderly for almost 35 years I’ve discovered some tips and tricks on how to promote brushing and oral care with your loved one or patient. I am honored to share these tips with you today.
Help Your Dementia Patient Brush Their Teeth
- Use a Familiar Environment – If your dementia patient is able to move to the sink, allow them to stand at the sink to provide an opportunity for recollection in their mind. The sink may provide a cue in their memory path to allow them to remember when they would brush their teeth at the sink.
- Always Smile – Many patients with dementia and Alzheimers can become threatened by others when the expression on their face is something other than a smile. This can cause them to become unsettled and even angry. Always remember to smile as you’re assisting your patient or loved one.
- Play Copycat – Have a brush there for you as well so that they can see you brushing your own teeth and copy the movements that you make. This does not always work, but sometimes it’s an invitation for them to provide their own self-care. However, you may still have to go in and be sure they did a good job.
- Don’t Be Afraid of Bleeding Gums – If and when the patient or loved one will allow you to brush their teeth, remember to always keep a smiling face and a gentle voice. If their gums begin to bleed, do not be afraid. Continue to brush at an angle at the gumline. There is a ‘pocket’ where the teeth and gums meet. This needs to be cleaned of any food and debris.
- Keep Regular Dental Visits – Understanding it can be hard to take your patient or loved one out to the dentist, there are dentists who are able to come to the home and perform dental care. I have been making house calls for over 30 years to the homebound in New York City. Most likely there may not be a house call dentist in your area, but please reach out to me if you’re looking for one – there may be one coming soon!
I also have a FREE Caregivers Guide to Oral Care. My passion is to help the underserved community of the elderly. I hope I made that evident to you in this article.
You can also visit my website for more information on what I do, and find some helpful resources in my blog.