Dementia brings great changes – also as regards the tandsundheden. Research shows that there is a clear link between dementia and poor oral hygiene. The medicine, people with dementia taking, also, that they get dry mouth, which allows a much greater risk of dental caries and fungal infections. Dentists, carers and relatives to a far greater extent focus on the elderly, who do not even maintain a normal life.
Birita Learned, there is the dentist, assistant professor, ph.d. and researcher in Dentistry in Copenhagen, denmark, have in recent years examined the association between dementia and dental health, and the result is striking. Birita Ellefsens study shows bl.a., to the people with dementia had an average of 7 holes in the teeth, already when they got demensdiagnosen, which says something about the problems that people with dementia have with their oral hygiene.
It can mean a significant deterioration of the older people's quality of life. The consequence of poor oral hygiene can bl.a. be pain or discomfort, which can give trouble to eat. At worst, it can mean that they completely stop eating. It is therefore important that the elderly with dementia and their caregivers get the proper guidance on how they should relate to dental care when they are diagnosed, stresses Birita Learned.
– Demented patients need a specially adapted dental care. And here, the dentists the opportunity to make a difference and help to ensure that newly diagnosed dementia patients receive prevention, treatment, and follow-up they need. We have a responsibility as healthcare professionals to help to cover the upbringing and health needs, which is just of the elderly with dementia, sounds the call from Birita Learned.
Birita Learned is among the presenters at the Tandlægeforeningens two-day Symposium on 6.-7. november. A little over 1,600 dentists and 600 dental assistants participating in the event, that has the medically compromised patient as the main theme and takes place in Aarhus, denmark at the Radisson SAS Scandinavia Hotel.
– It is always good to get updated – and expanded – his professional knowledge and ability, and it is of course valid also for dentists. With a view to both the individual dentist's challenges and daily lives, but also with the aim of patients. To dentists in-service training and included in the latest treatment techniques and developments in dental care, get patients in the chair for the benefit, said Tandlægeforeningens president Susanne Andersen.