Summary

Both the inflammation and oral bacteria and their byproducts associated with periodontitis have been implicated as able to travel from the mouth to brain tissues and implicated in the development and disease progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Because these diseases may interact, it is critically important for older adults to proactively maintain their oral health. Oral care delivery for patients with dementia can be difficult due to lack of education about oral healthcare and inability to address care resistant behaviors in patients with dementia. Older individuals with dementia also experience higher rates of caries, xerostomia and multimorbidity associated with their dementia symptoms and/or pharmacotherapies. Delivery of preventative and minimally invasive care for periodontitis and caries within a nursing home environment is challenging, but simple interventions and coordination between interdisciplinary healthcare providers can improve outcomes for patients.