We discover the top dental tips and dementia-friendly product suggestions from Unforgettable expert panel member, dentist and entrepreneur Professor Raman Bedi

Who are you?

My name is Professor Raman Bedi and I was President of the British Society for Oral Health and Disability in 2002. From 1998-2008 I was co-director of the World Health Organization collaborating centre for disability and oral health. I was also the Chief Dental Officer for England 2002-2005 and whilst in office commissioned several initiatives to promote special dental care training.

What expertise can you bring to the Unforgettable panel?

I have been providing dental care for people with special care needs for over 25 years and have developed a number of products which help individuals to better look after their teeth. I’m creator of the Bedi Shield, a dental product that has been used around the world and has helped thousands of carers to provide better oral hygiene.

Do you have a personal interest in dementia?

I have always been interested in people with special care dental needs. As an undergraduate dental student at the University of Bristol, I worked most weekends with the Muller home orphanages which had a number of children with special needs.

Since qualifying as a dentist I have been treating a wide range of people with disabilities and when I became an NHS consultant ran the largest special care dental clinic in the West Midlands. I was always frustrated with the lack of products available to help carers with oral care and hence the invention of the dental shield or support.

The purpose of the Bedi Shield was to help carers keep the mouth clean and maintain good oral health and an individual's dignity. This product is just the beginning, and I believe we need a whole range of dental products to help carers to maintain good oral health.

If a family carer asked you for advice on what could help improve the quality of life for their mother or father who has just been diagnosed with dementia, what would you say?

There are two areas which the carer needs to consider. First, identify a dentist who is comfortable in providing dental care for people with dementia. Being able to establish a dental home which you, your parent and the dental team are all comfortable with is important. Familiarity also helps

Second, daily oral hygiene and setting up a regular dental routine is important and you can use a range of products to help clean the teeth. A healthy, low sugar diet is also vital for helping to prevent new dental cavities.

What would your advice be for what they should do now and how they can best prepare for the journey ahead?

Establish a dental home which you have confidence in and a dentist you can discuss the challenges which will invariably arise. Build up a range of suitable oral care products that you can use to keep the mouth healthy and so prevent dental problems arising.

What products would you recommend to help a person caring for someone with dementia?

1. Bedi shield
Getting used to the shield is important and it should be used daility for checking the mouth, aid to cleaning, and help if the person is choking.
Suitable for early stage dementia

2. Adapted toothbrush
Toothbrushes designed to help carers clean the teeth are a different design to the ones that a person uses to clean their own teeth.
Suitable for early stage dementia

3. Dental wipes
When a toothbrush is rejected, the teeth and gums can be cleaned with a dental wipe.
Suitable for early stage dementia

4. Dry mouth sprays
It remoistens the mouth but should only be used if dry mouth is a problem.
Suitable for early stage dementia

5. Plain toothpaste
This depends the patient - but some people with dementia do not like the mint taste and prefer unflavoured toothpaste.
Suitable for early stage dementia

For more tips on helping someone with dementia look after their teeth, click here.