Complication: Dementia

Symptoms

Memory, communication and language, ability to focus and pay attention, reasoning and judgment, visual perception

At least two of the above symptoms must be significantly impaired to be considered dementia.

As soon as dementia is diagnosed, it is very important to establish a dental care program. Dementia is a progressive disease, meaning the condition gets worse over time. It is a term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with everyday life. It is important to assess oral health at the time to take preventative measures for the future.

In early stages of dementia, key teeth should be identified and restored. Memory will start to waver, and the person may need to be reminded to brush their teeth. A caregiver will want to accompany the person with dementia to the dentist to learn how to take preventative measures in helping that person maintain their oral health. In the middle stages, it will be very important to prevent diseases because treatment will become harder to perform. In the later stages of dementia, a person may have severe problems with memory and logic causing them to be unable to care for their teeth at all. The easiest way to brush their teeth is if they sit in a straight-backed chair with the caregiver behind them to support their head and brush their teeth for them.

According to Reuters, researchers found that females who didn’t brush their teeth every day were 65% more likely to get dementia. Men who didn’t brush their teeth every day had a 22% greater chance of developing dementia.

A daily oral care routine is essential to preventing gum disease, tooth loss, and pain.

How to Tell if Someone Has Dental Problems

  • Refusal to eat (especially with sensitivity to hot or cold foods)
  • Frequent pulling on the face or mouth
  • Leaving previously working dentures out of their mouth
  • Increased restlessness, moaning, or shouting
  • Refusal to take part in daily activities
  • Aggressive behavior