Dentures and Dementia: Tips to Help Your Loved One

Dealing with dementia or dentures on their own can be challenging, but dealing with both of these issues together can be especially challenging. If someone you love who wears dentures has recently been diagnosed with dementia, there are several things you should know.

Here are some tips and facts to help you help them through the process:

1. Monitor the effect your loved one's medication has on their mouth

In some cases, people with dementia are prescribed antipsychotics. Unfortunately, some antipsychotics can cause involuntary tongue or jaw movements. These repetitive movements can make it hard for someone to wear dentures.

If your loved one's medications make it hard for them to wear their dentures, consider talking with their doctor about alternative medications or treatment options. Although antipsychotics are a popular treatment for dementia, many people argue they are overused, and as a result, there are new treatments constantly being explored.

2. Mark your loved one's name on their dentures in case of loss

People with dementia risk losing their dentures, especially if they are in a new situation such as immediately after moving into an assisted care facility. Unfortunately, replacing dentures can be cumbersome, and patients with dementia may resist the refitting process.

So that you can easily identify your loved one's dentures, mark them. Find a spot near the back of the dentures and use some steel wool to gently remove the polish from the dentures. Write your loved ones name in pen or pencil, and then paint over it with nail varnish and let it dry.  

3. Arrange for daily help with oral care

In addition to possibly losing their dentures, people with dementia may have difficulty taking care of their dentures. They may forget to brush and rinse daily, and they may forget to take out their dentures at night.

Arrange help for your loved one. A home care worker, a family member or some of the staff members at the assisted living facility can all be indispensable when it comes to setting up an oral care routine for someone with dentures and dementia.

4. Do not be surprised if your loved one eventually refuses to wear dentures

By arranging for your loved one to have help putting in, taking out and caring for their dentures, you make it easier for them to wear dentures. However, you have to keep in mind that dementia is a progressive disease. In most cases, it gets worse as times goes on.

As your loved one's condition gets worse, he or she may refuse to wear dentures. It can be hard for loved ones to see, but keep in mind that this is normal and something you should anticipate happening after a while.

The best way to delay this refusal to wear dentures is by making denture wearing as easy as possible for your loved one for as long as possible. For more information and tips, you may want to contact a local denture clinic