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Should a Dentist be Contacted if a Senior has Dementia?

by Dr. Joshua Davidson, Senior Dental Care Expert
May 30, 2019

Question: My mother has been diagnosed with dementia. I was told I should contact her dentist immediately. Is that necessary and if yes, why?

Answer:

Should a person be diagnosed with dementia, cognitive, social and physical skills will start to decline. Unfortunately, there is no cure for dementia, but medical care can slow the process.

Oral health is a gateway to systemic health. The best care for healthy aging is consistent dental hygiene appointments and daily brushing. The more often and regularly the patient sees the dentist/hygienist, the more likely the experience will be pleasant and not so foreign to the patient with dementia.

Make sure that your loved one does have twice yearly cleanings scheduled with their local dentist. If the dementia has progressed and little brushing is done at home, maybe three cleanings a year might be in order.

I always encourage family and caregivers to do whatever they can to maintain oral health for their loved ones.

Joshua Davidson is a 2011 graduate of the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health. He simultaneously received his Masters Degree in Public Health. He currently works at the Chippewa Falls Dental Center in Chippewa Falls, WI focusing on issues of geriatric dental care.

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