The NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing has received $3.47 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to improve the oral hygiene of people with mild dementia. The five-year grant from the NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and National Institute on Aging will be used to implement and study a unique oral health intervention involving family caregivers in New York and North Carolina.

NYU Meyers’ Bei Wu is the principal investigator on the project, assisted by co-principal investigators Brenda Plassman from Duke Health and Ruth Anderson from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

People with dementia usually have significantly poorer oral health than other older adults, including more plaque, cavities, severe gum disease, and fewer teeth. Individuals with mild dementia are at a higher risk of poor oral health and research suggests inadequate oral hygiene practices are to blame.

The researchers developed an intervention to help family caregivers guide people with mild dementia in carrying out oral hygiene. The intervention is designed to work with the caregiver and individual with mild dementia to identify challenges in oral care and improve the ability of the person with dementia to engage in effective oral care. Thanks to the NIH funding, the research team will conduct a randomized controlled trial in New York City and North Carolina to test the oral health intervention.

To learn more about NYU Nursing’s recent $3.47 million grant from the NIH to improve oral health in people with dementia, visit here.

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