Due to the increase in the older population, the management of individuals with dementia in long-term care settings will continue to present a challenge to the health care team. Many individuals with dementia will have some or all of their teeth upon admission due to improved dental care throughout their lives. Oral hygiene and oral care for individuals with dementia is generally poor in long-term care; however, the continuance of good oral health is essential both to maintain the demented individual’s quality of life and to prevent infections that may affect his/her general health. The maintenance of good oral health has the potential to reduce the incidence of long-term care-acquired pneumonia. This article presents an overview of the relationship between oral and general health in the demented patient and then provides an overview regarding oral assessment, treatment, and prevention of dental disease.
Key words: dementia, dental caries, dental plaque, aspiration pneumonia, oral hygiene.