6. How to tell if someone has dental problems
There may come a time when the person with dementia is unable to say that they are experiencing pain or discomfort in their mouth or teeth. They will need to rely on other people to notice and interpret their behaviour and to arrange a visit to the dentist if necessary. There are several behavioural changes that may indicate that someone with dementia is experiencing dental problems. These may include:
- refusal to eat (particularly hard or cold foods)
- frequent pulling at the face or mouth
- leaving previously worn dentures out of their mouth
- increased restlessness, moaning or shouting
- disturbed sleep
- refusal to take part in daily activities
- aggressive behaviour.
If there is no explanation for the change in behaviour, arrangements should be made to identify the cause. This should include a dental assessment as part of the process.