Oral Health for Seniors with Dementia Takes on a New Dimension
Senior oral care has recently taken a turn for the better since nurses have learned about a new approach that resulted from a study involving a team of nurses and dementia patients.
Managing Oral Hygiene Using Threat Reduction (MOUTH) is the latest approach to oral health for people with dementia. This is great news for people with dementia who have more difficulty brushing their teeth which leads to poor oral health and consequently elevates the risk for periodontal diseases, pneumonia and cardiovascular disease. Managing Oral Hygiene Using Threat Reduction (MOUTH) involves a multi-prong strategy that incorporates 15 techniques to reduce the risk of periodontal disease, pneumonia and cardiovascular disease linked to poor oral hygiene.
Senior oral health received a D grade report in the nationwide study of the State of Oral Health in America. It may be difficult for seniors to manage their oral health for numerous reasons. First, government aided dental care only offers tooth extraction in several states so seniors wait to receive dental care until finally the tooth must be extracted. Second, tooth brushing may be hindered with limited mobility of the hands or other extremities. Memory deficits are another reason for missing regular tooth brushing. People with dementia suffer from similar struggles.
Now, nurses caring for people with dementia can take charge by smiling at patients at an eye level to help maintain the patient’s concentration level, while guiding patients through a proper regimen for maximum oral hygiene.