Dental care and dementia
on 03-Jun-2018

 

 

Dental hygiene can be a challenge for people with dementia and those who support them. Mouth problems- teeth and gum can lead to poor nutrition, infection and pain and subsequent changes in behaviour. Dr O’Connor, Bill O'Connor is the Dental Association president and a Palmerston North dentist. He spoke on Radio New Zealand last week:

Why no mandatory dental treatment in aged care?

From Nine To Noon9:26 am on 1 June 2018 

“The Dental Association is calling for basic dental care to become mandatory at aged care facilities to stop what's being described as a 'quiet elder crisis' from developing. Currently dental care is excluded from agreements between DHBs and aged care providers, meaning it's left up to individual rest homes to manage residents' oral hygiene. According to the Dental Association that means some residents can go for years without anyone looking at their teeth, which can lead to disastrous health outcomes.”

https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018647468/why-no-mandatory-dental-treatment-in-aged-care

The Ministry of Health website has some useful information about daily care of natural teeth and dentures.

https://www.health.govt.nz/publication/healthy-mouth-healthy-ageing

It is often difficult to get people with dementia out to visit the dentist and it is expensive. However, failure to do this can cause major problems. How do we get around this?