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Oral care tips for caregivers

Multi-generational African women sitting on sofaProper oral hygiene for the elderly and home bound patient starts with proper tooth brushing. Here are a few tooth brushing tips to ensure that you give the best possible care to your loved one.

  • Find a comfortable position for tooth brushing. This could be by the sink, but it could be in a chair with a towel and cup of water handy. Experiment to find which position is the most comfortable. You may find that standing behind your client or sitting in front of them as you brush their teeth will allow you a better reach.
  • Use a soft brush with rounded bristles. Using a soft brush will prevent tooth brushing from becoming painful for someone who may not be able to report the pain. If your charge will be brushing their own teeth, make sure the toothbrush is easy to grip and maneuver. Wrapping a cloth around the handle can help with this.
  • Brush with care. Brush the tooth and the gum line at a 45 degree angle. Use a rolling back and forth motion on a few teeth at a time until you have brushed all of the teeth. Do not forget to brush the top and back of the teeth and to gently brush the tongue. Check that food particles do not get stuck in less accessible places.
  • Use little or no toothpaste. The effectiveness of tooth brushing mainly comes from the manual back and forth motions which remove buildup and plaque. Is is better to use less toothpaste if your client has difficulty with swallowing, or is not able to report whether they dislike the taste.
  • Replace the toothbrush after a few months. Replacing your toothbrush reduces the risk that microbes and bacteria that collect on a toothbrush will affect your client’s health. A new toothbrush also will not have worn bristles that reduce the effectiveness of tooth brushing.
  • Clean your dentures. Remove dentures before you begin and remember to clean them as well.
  • Don’t forget to floss. It is important to floss daily. There are many tools that can make flossing easier and more accessible such as floss holders, floss threaders, small brushes, and toothpicks. I can help you find the flossing solution that works best for your client.

Get help

Dr. Toporovsky provides dental care in the comfort of your home. Call now, or just fill out the form and click Send for more information. Click here to read more about tooth brushing tips for caregivers from Tooth Wisdom.

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