Proper oral hygiene allows people to enjoy food and prevent tooth loss and decay.
It’s no less important if you’re caring for someone else. You may even be required to brush the teeth for that person.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research suggests these steps if the patient can’t brush his or her own teeth:
- Wash your hands and wear disposable gloves.
- Gently remove dentures or partials.
- Check between the teeth and cheeks for bits of food, swiping the area with a gloved finger or damp gauze.
- Use a brush with soft bristles.
- Use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- Hold the brush bristles at an angle toward the gum line so they clean between the gums and teeth.
- Brush the teeth on all sides using small circular motions, then brush the tongue.
- If the person you care for cannot rinse, give a drink of water or sweep the mouth with a finger wrapped in damp gauze.