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Alzheimer’s and Oral Health: A Surprising Dental Health Connection

Maintaining our oral health requires commitment and a steady routine, regardless of age. Due to the many health problems facing the elderly, it is increasingly common in those of advancing age. An assortment of health problems can create complications with oral health for reasons including range of motion concerns. Problems with cognitive decline can make it difficult to maintain a consistent routine or oral hygiene, especially when it comes to ensuring its completed properly. With Alzheimer’s representing the sixth most common reason for patient death in the US, its gradual and often traumatic onset is well known. As the disease advances, it can become increasingly difficult to help the patient maintain good oral health and hygiene.

Understanding Alzheimer’s Effect On Oral Health

Everyone knows that it’s important to make twice-yearly visits to your dentist, even if it’s just to see your hygienist. This bi-annual practice goes a long way toward preserving oral health, but it isn’t enough on its own to stop periodontal disease and tooth decay. Fighting these conditions requires consistently brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash, and the practice must be maintained properly for maximum protection. Studies published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health have shown that those with Alzheimer’s have difficulty accomplishing these goals.

With 10 million new cases of dementia being reported each year around the world, nearly 65% of them can be attributed to Alzheimer’s. Studies show that this condition is becoming more common, though the reason for its increase isn’t well known. Better medical practices leading to patients living to an older age are thought to be involved. With so many dental patients being affected by this condition, it’s critical that tailored care be available.

The Dental Professionals Role In Preserving Oral Health In Alzheimer’s Patients

Dental professionals value and strive to express compassion for the patients under their care. One way they show this is by striving to understand the conditions that their patients live with and how they can accommodate these patients receiving important dental care. Ways your dental professional may demonstrate this include:

  • Providing affordable sealants and fluoride treatments to provide long-term protection.

  • Treatment plans are tailored to the individual patient, especially those with dementia.

  • Working closely with your medical insurance provider to find solutions that may not be commonly known.

In order to serve the full range of dental patients they may encounter, dental offices often provide services like these. They will also work closely with the family and coordinate with other health care providers to discover new solutions. Alzheimer’s is a difficult struggle for patients and their families, and your dental care shouldn’t add further stress. Reach out to your dentist to see what solutions they offer for you and your family.

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