Unique approach to improve dental hygiene in dementia patients found
A pilot study by a team of nurses has now found a tailored approach to improve dental hygiene in dementia patients.
"Poor oral health can lead to pneumonia and cardiovascular disease as well as periodontal disease," said Rita A. Jablonski, even though these illnesses are not usually associated with the mouth.
According to Jablonski, assistant professor of nursing, Penn State, persons with dementia resist care when they feel threatened. In general, these patients cannot care for themselves and need help.
Jablonski and her team introduced an oral hygiene approach called Managing Oral Hygiene Using Threat Reduction (MOUTh) specifically for dementia patients. Many of their strategies focus on making the patient feel more comfortable before and while care is provided.
"We have come up with 15 strategies -- techniques to help reduce threat perception," said Jablonski.