Parent Have Dementia? Tips To Get Them To Care For Their Teeth
If your parent has dementia, they will eventually have a hard time doing many things. One of these things is taking care of their teeth. They may refuse to care for them, and you may find it difficult to convince them to. Not caring for their teeth properly can also lead to other health problems that can be very hard on someone that is elderly. Keep reading on four tips so they can have healthy teeth.
Go in Steps
Because your parent may have a hard time following directions due to memory problems, tell them in steps about brushing their teeth. For example, start at telling them to go to the bathroom and wait for them to get situated. Ask them to pick up the toothbrush, and then ask them to put the toothpaste on the brush. From this point, you can walk them through brushing each section of their mouth, such as starting with the front teeth and move backward.
Help Hold the Toothbrush
If your parent has a hard time holding the toothbrush in their hand, hot glue an elastic band to the handle of the brush and then wrap the band around your parent's hand. This will hold the brush in place for them. Make sure the band is not too tight, however. You could use an adult's ponytail holder for this. You may have to stretch it out a little so it will not be too tight.
Make it a Routine
You need to make the ritual of brushing your parent's teeth a routine. For example, at the end of the dinner meal each night, stand up and tell your parent it's time to brush their teeth. Do not ask them if they want to do this, as making decisions may be hard for them.
Brush your teeth along with them so your parent can feel like this is something you also do every day and they are not signaled out.
Use the Right Toothbrush
Instead of using an adult toothbrush, which generally has hard brushes, purchase your parent a child's toothbrush, as the bristles are much softer.
If they have always used an electronic toothbrush, they may be scared of the noise now so it is a good idea to put it away. There are also three-sided toothbrushes available so no matter how the toothbrush is positioned in their mouth it will be brushing their teeth.
Because your parent will come to a time when they can no longer brush their teeth, they need more frequent dental cleanings. Also talk with your dentist about any dental emergencies that may come up, such as a tooth that falls out, and how you should contact their office.