Robert Emmanuel, from Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, said that dementia has a major impact on lifestyle habits and this can affect oral health. As dementia develops, it can affect the diet and the ability to maintain a good oral hygiene routine, both of which are likely to have a negative impact on oral health. Mr Emmanuel, a special care dentist who has expertise in treating patients with late-stage dementia, said that it’s very common for patients to encounter complex oral health problems and often, these issues are untreatable.
Mr Emmanuel and his research colleague, Anne Sorensen, from Brighton and Sussex Medical School, surveyed more than 50 patients who had been diagnosed with dementia. They found that patients received dental treatment, but there was a lack of preventative measures on offer. It was uncommon for patients to be offered advice about their diet and oral hygiene tips and most had not been offered fluoride varnish treatment, which helps to strengthen the enamel and reduce the risk of cavities.
Mr Emanuel said that providing preventative care at an early stage could help to eliminate more serious dental issues later on and this would improve health and wellbeing. If patients are given the right information and support, they can use this to boost their dental health and reduce the risk of developing issues that cannot be treated or managed.