Caregiving, Alzheimer's and mouth care assistance
As caregiver for someone with Alzheimer's you need to help them with their dental hygiene and mouth care. Mouth and dental hygiene care is very important to maintain best physical and mental health of the individual incapacitated by illness and disease.
As caregiver you will need to help them:
Caregiver mouth care tips
Encourage the person you are caring for to do as mush as possible for themselves. It helps maintain their skills and lessens your work in the long run too.
Caregivers need to clean the person's teeth or dentures gently every morning, evening and after each meal.
Use a soft toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes are great but may not be tolerated by someone who is demented or not used to the noise and vibration they produce.
Use a toothpaste the person likes the flavor of.
Mouthwashes are great for bacteria control and to leave the mouth refreshed. The problem is that you need the cooperation of the person with Alzheimer's so they do not swallow the mouthwash.
Remember some mouthwashes can cause discomfort especially if someone's mouth is sore. Try diluting the mouthwash with water, or using one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda diluted in a cup of warm water or by changing the mouthwash brand.
Remember to remind the person you are caring for what you are doing. Make comments about their teeth and gums and encourage their cooperation through praise and thanks. 'That's great', 'Your teeth look really white and clean now' 'Does the toothpaste make your mouth feel fresh?' etc, etc.
Be gentle when you brush their teeth or gently move their lips to accommodate the brush or cup. Never force the mouth open.
Externally, the person's lips can be kept moist by using Vaseline, or a flavored lip balm.
If you are unable to examine the person's mouth or find the person is very uncooperative ask your dentist, doctor or a nursing professional for help.
I have known many people with dementia who will assist people who are not their family or friends yet are totally uncooperative with their nearest and dearest. Their uncooperative behavior is often not a sign of your poor caregiving skills but rather something you may have overlooked. It may be just the fact that someone with Alzheimer's finds it difficult to be in the position of being looked after and all that entails for their self image.