• Have professional backup: Visit a dentist twice a year to check for cavities, gum infections, dangerously cracked teeth, ill-fitting dentures, and the like. Make sure the office knows the person has dementia, to book adequate time. For tough cases, ask for a referral to a geriatric dentist who has experience working with Alzheimer’s patients.

  • Incorporate toothbrushing into the daily routine, such as when getting dressed or ready for bed (ideally both).

  • Use the same brand of toothpaste the person has always used, if you can.

  • Provide a thick-handled, easy-to-grip toothbrush. The noise of an electric toothbrush may cause distress.

  • If the person doesn’t recognize a toothbrush, slowly insert your own toothbrush in your mouth to model how it’s done.

  • If the person clenches their teeth and won’t open them, brush what you can see.

  • Dentists recommend flossing, but unless the person is cooperative about oral care, it’s not worth the battle or risk of being bitten.

  • Clean dentures daily. Don’t leave it up to them. Ask the dentist the correct way if you’re unsure.

  • Minimize the number of products in the bathroom.