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Tips for Treating Patients With Alzheimer Disease

Alzheimer disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that causes cognition impairment and memory loss, affecting activities of daily living. In the United States, an estimated 4.5 million people have AD and this figure is expected to reach 14 million by 2050. The population affected by AD across the world is projected to increase to 81.1 million by 2040. Because patients with AD experience a deterioration of their mental functions, patients need more help with their activities of daily living, including oral hygiene, as their AD progresses. Studies have found that individuals with AD often experience poor oral health. As advanced age is a risk factor for AD and the number of older adults in the US continues to rise, oral health professionals must be knowledgeable about treating patients with this neurodegenerative disorder.

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Patients with early or mild stages of AD are still able to perform most of their own oral hygiene care.

home caregiver holding hand of very old woman Branimir76 / E+
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Caregivers should be contacted how long in advance of the appointment to update patients’ health, dental, and pharmacologic histories?

Scientific analysis of Alzheimer's disease in hospital digicomphoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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When a patient is diagnosed with AD or dementia, caregivers should be advised to schedule regular appointments with the patient’s dentist and dental hygienist.

woman holding senior woman's hand on bed Barcin / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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When communicating verbally, long, elaborate sentences should be used as well as a loud tone of voice.

a conceptual look at Alzheimers disease, and some of the problems it brings. travellinglight / iStock /. Getty Images Plus
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Patients in the more severe stages of AD can be extremely uncooperative.

Two hands holding a paper with human head and a puzzle piece. Bulat Silvia / iStock / Getty. Images Plus
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Xerostomia is a side effect of many of the medications used in the treatment of AD and may result in which of the following?

Happy senior lady sitting at wheelchair in nursing home for elderly KatarzynaBialasiewicz / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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As the AD progresses, oral healthcare is often neglected.

hoto with close-up of caregiver and patient holding hands KatarzynaBialasiewicz / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Flossing can be difficult for patients with AD; therefore, the use of an interdental brush is recommended.

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Tips for Treating Patients With Alzheimer Disease
Not bad, but there’s room to grow when it comes to understanding treating patients with Alzheimer disease. Consider reading more about this important facet of dental hygiene care. Good luck!
Well done! Continue to study treating patients with Alzheimer disease. You’ve got this!
Congrats! You understand the importance of properly treating patients with Alzheimer disease. Get out there and put your know-how to good use!

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This information is from the article Strategies for Safe and Effective Treatment of Patients With Alzheimer Disease by Jafar Alabdullah, BS, MS and Ahmed Almuntashiri, RDH, MSc. To read the article, click here.

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