General Dentistry in Kinston, NCI read Dear Abby in the paper on Monday. A reader had written in about the difficulties in taking care of her mother with Alzheimer’s who is in an extended care facility. Every one of us will face or have already faced caring for a love one in a nursing home or extended care facility. Dental care at these facilities is almost non-existent. We do not have, in North Carolina, expanded function hygienists who can work independently of a dentist and go into nursing homes and do exams and clean the patients’ teeth. These hygienists can be a great service but I do not truly advocate this nor does our State Board. That topic will cover another day.

My belief is that care in these facilities truly falls on the patient before they reached these facilities. It is important to take the upmost care of your teeth before we become medically compromised. If we are receiving regular care and our mouths are in good shape before something like a stroke or heart attack sidelines us then we are prepared for a time when brushing our teeth should be the least of our worries! It’s kind of like when my mom use to tell me, “Put on clean underwear when you leave the house because you never know when you are going to be in an accident. You want on clean underwear when you go to the hospital.” If your teeth are in good health before you become sick or debilitated, then you will be better able to withstand the years of poor hygiene that follow. An electric toothbrush can be invaluable in treating the elderly. A $70-100 sonic toothbrush can save so much money, time, and effort on the caregivers’ part because it is so easy to use especially for someone who has lost their manual dexterity. I have seen many of our patients with debilitating diseases have remarkable hygiene do to electric toothbrush  whether they are using it themselves or a loved one is helping them.

We at Carlyle Dental treat the long term care patients all the time. Their family arranges transport to our office and we do the rest!  We, also, help teach the caregivers how to care for their loved ones. If you need help with a family member, give us a call for advice: 252-522-1777