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Caregivers Guide to Dental Care

If you’re one of the 8 million caregivers in Canada, you’ve got a lot on your mind. You understand how difficult it can be to take care of your loved ones dental care.

When you’re caring for a child—or adult—with a disability or neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s, the challenges can be even greater. It may be hard to know how to adapt your routine to include caring for their oral health.

How much help you give will depend on the individual. If the person in your care can do the basics, let them. Some simple adaptations to brushing routines for those with limited motor function or developmental disabilities can include:

  • Using an elastic band to help steady the toothbrush in their hands.
  • Enlarge the base of the brush for better grip with a sponge, rubber ball or bicycle grip.
  • Lengthen the toothbrush by attaching it to a ruler or wooden dowel for better reach.
  • Invest in an electric toothbrush or water/air flosser, as they help reach areas that may be getting missed.

Others caregivers may be looking after those with memory issues. People with dementia or Alzheimer’s may need someone to clean their teeth every day. The Alzheimer’s association recommends these tips for oral health care:

  • Provide short, simple instructions. Break it down by telling them each step instead of a general statement such as “brush your teeth”.
  • Use a “watch me” technique and have your loved one follow along.
  • If the person seems agitated or uncooperative, postpone brushing until later in the day.

When in doubt give our office a call or speak to one of our dental Hygienists or doctors.  Maintaining regular check up and cleaning appointments will help your loved one have a healthy mouth for years to come.

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