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Oral Health Information for Caregivers

Daily mouthcare is important for oral health and overall health. Caregivers, be they friends, family or paid assistants, provide some or all of this vital health function for people who cannot do it for themselves.

What you should do

  • Develop a customized oral health plan for the person who needs assistance to meet their particular needs. Older Adult sample special needs sample
  • Perform mouth care twice daily. video training
  • If the person you are caring for can not report symptoms, you should perform an oral assessment regularly. more
  • Use a soft toothbrush as it is less likely to cause trauma to the gums, and it removes plaque and debris better than disposable sponge tooth cleaners. Some caregivers report greater efficiency in using brushes designed to clean multiple surfaces at a time, such as specialized 3-sided toothbrushes. Caregivers cleaning dentures may find denture brushes to be more efficient in reaching all surfaces.
  • Caregivers who have difficulty using floss may try floss threaders. more
  • Use a toothpaste with fluoride – older adults are at risk of dental decay and dentists may prescribe toothpaste with a higher concentration of fluoride.

To give care if the person is resistant

People with later stages of dementia may exhibit care-resistant behavior during mouth care, as they perceive the caregiver to be a threat. Younger persons with developmental or acquired disabilities may also fear oral contact. Strategies to reduce care-resistant behavior during mouth care can help. more