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Oral Health And Complications From Alzheimer’s Disease

Woman with alzheimer's

Keeping our smile looking great for a lifetime requires constant care. This care involves a consistent and thorough oral hygiene routine. In addition to the important efforts we make at home, twice-yearly visits are necessary for the best results. As we age, meeting these requirements can become more difficult. This is specifically relevant for those who have begun to face challenges involving dementia. Alzheimer’s is an increasingly common concern among the elderly. Diagnosis rates are on the rise, so dentists are seeing more patients with related oral health concerns. This has led to the persistent investigation and development of specialized care for patients with diseases involving dementia.

Oral Health And Complications From Alzheimer’s Disease

America has seen rates of diagnosis of dementia-related diseases that reach ten million new cases. This number continues to grow with every passing year. This fact is largely attributed to improving medical care and the resulting extended lifespans. Ongoing research into this topic is looking for the reason for higher rates of this illness. For now, age seems to be the largest connecting factor.

The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health has published research papers that show a connection to oral health. Those with Alzheimer’s have been found to have great difficulty maintaining a solid oral health routine. In addition to having difficulty remembering to brush, many suffer physical limitations. Half of all the new diagnoses of dementia-related diseases are determined to be Alzheimer’s. As a result, proper treatment for patients with this condition is of high priority.

Providing Proper Dementia Care In the Dental Industry

The Dental Industry is committed to providing accommodations and access to effective dental care for these patients. In order to achieve this goal, new methods of treatment have been developed aimed at addressing their unique concerns. Among the options available to those suffering from Alzheimer’s or dimension are:

  • Greater access to fluoride and dental sealant options to prevent decay
  • Treatment plans that are coordinated with physicians for oral care
  • Alternative options for care provided by insurance providers 
  • Appointment times set according to periods of low symptom activity
  • Access to dentist’s with education in treating dementia patients

Other studies have provided evidence that Alzheimer’s may be tied to gum disease. Bacteria linked to periodontal disease have been found in the brains of patients suffering from the condition. This strongly suggests that those who have advanced periodontal disease may be at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s. This means that starting care early, and continuing it consistently, has long-term implications.

As a result, it is vitally necessary that we take steps early to keep periodontal disease at bay. It’s never past time to start making an effort to take proper care of our teeth and gums. If you want to ensure that you’re performing oral hygiene correctly, speak to your dentist. They’ll be able to help you take steps to improve your care. They can also provide techniques and options that will help those with dementia benefit from better oral care. Reach out to your dental provider for guidance and to develop a plan for them.

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Dr. Marian Bradford Dr. Marian Bradford brings over 20 years of experience as a Dr. of Dental Surgery to the practice at Premier Dental of South Orange County. As a researcher, educator, and clinician, she brings a full range of services to patients in the Aliso Viejo, CA area, including restoration and cosmetic dentistry care.
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