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The Relationship Between Oral Health And Dementia

Heart disease risk is enhanced in people who have poor oral health routines. However, recent studies have also indicated that dental health is related to dementia as well. According to studies, having poor oral health conditions including gingivitis, dental caries, and tooth loss increases your risk of dementia and an overall cognitive decline.

In order to better comprehend the hazards associated with not maintaining a solid oral health regimen, we will now examine the relationship between oral health and dementia. We also discuss the effects that poor oral hygiene might have on loved ones who are dealing with dementia.

Dementia Patients’ Oral Health Challenges

It is not unexpected that persons with dementia struggle to maintain good dental hygiene given their memory and cognitive function. These individuals’ poor finger dexterity makes it harder for them to handle tasks like holding and using a toothbrush or floss. As a result, it’s crucial to ensure that family members who have dementia receive good dental care.

Since it’s usual for patients with dementia to become combative or upset when assistance is provided, it can be challenging to try to help them do basic grooming and oral care duties. Because of this, your dentist should be active in their care and use a professional and communicative approach to dental care.

By adding oral health care in their treatment plan, your dentist can assist your loved one maintain overall health and identify any other dangers.

Dementia-Related Oral Health Hazards

Patients with dementia who practice poor oral hygiene are more likely to develop some of the following dental problems:

  • Cavities
  • Soft tissue conditions, such as gingivitis
  • Buildup of plaque
  • Tooth loss that causes the remaining teeth to move and causes the jaw’s bone to deteriorate
  • The potential for bloodstream infection from gum disease
  • Sensitivity and pain in the teeth that might lower quality of life
  • The reduced chewing ability that affects dietary requirements

All of these conditions call for immediate dental attention and care.

Dental Care For People Suffering With Dementia

In General, regular dentist visits are necessary for good oral hygiene. With dementia patients, however, who might not want to leave their homes, this becomes a little more challenging. Early detection of significant problems that affect both oral and general health depends on access to dental treatments. For example, Periodontitis, a form of gum disease, can raise your risk of getting:

  • Gum disease caused by bacteria that enters the bloodstream and then causes damage to the heart valves
  • Heart conditions
  • Those with prosthetic heart valves may experience health issues.
  • Complications for diabetes patients
  • Also links coronary artery disease and tooth loss

Following some or all of these suggestions will assist in getting dementia patients ready for their dental appointments:

  • Make a quick appointment to prevent conflicts with your loved one.
  • Talk frequently about the meeting with your loved one so they are ready for it.
  • Try to establish your loved one’s ideal time of day and make appointments then.
  • To prevent mishaps, have them use the restroom before their visit.

In order to make dental checkups simpler for your loved ones, your dentist can also provide guidance.

Maintaining A Poor Oral Health Routine can result in Dementia

The notion that those with poor oral health actually raise their risk for dementia is less expected. Recent research has demonstrated that problems with oral health, like tooth loss and occlusal dysfunction, have an effect on brain function and can lead to dementia.

Additionally, it may result in neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s. It is alarming how aging, dental dysfunction, and dementia can all be related. However, keeping up with good dental care both at home and at the dentist’s office can help prevent dental problems and lower the likelihood that dementia will develop.

Typical Signs and Symptoms of Dementia

Cognitive processes such as thinking, remembering, and reasoning are impacted by dementia. However, it also affects our behavioral abilities, which gradually impairs our capacity for communication, self-care, and carrying out the necessary daily tasks. Some of the signs and symptoms of Dementia include the following:

  • Confusion and Disorientation
  • Memory problems
  • Bad judgment
  • Reading and writing challenges
  • Lack of understanding Inability to articulate thoughts
  • Wandering
  • Loss of interest in activities or in attending events
  • Hallucinations
  • The person becomes delusional
  • Difficulty speaking and comprehending others
  • Difficulty in managing money
  • They seem to get lost even in well-known locations
  • Lack of concern for oral hygiene and other personal grooming habits
  • Finding the wrong term or using strange words
  • Difficulty executing routine activities in a timely manner
  • Repeating remarks or inquiries
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Paranoia
  • Complete disregard for the emotions of others
  • Aggressiveness
  • Issues with movement and balance

You should call your doctor right away if you or a loved one exhibits these symptoms.

As soon as dementia is identified in a loved one or someone close to you, it’s crucial to schedule dental appointments and the required treatments. Dentists who treat dementia patients can also provide emotional support, provide oral hygiene products, and suggest a course of action to help patients maintain good dental hygiene, thereby preventing the further deterioration of dementia.

Call us at  (972) 423-6804 right away to make an appointment if a loved one with dementia requires professional dental assistance.

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