07 5473 5117Book an appointment
MENU

Dental Care Tips for Caregivers

Dental Care Tips for Caregivers

Dental care is important at any age. However, certain members of the population require special oral hygiene care: These include people who are sick, elderly, mentally and physically challenged or medically compromised. In Australia more and more family members are taking up the role of caregiver, this is quite a demanding role requiring many skill sets. One of those is to ensure that their loved ones receive proper dental care, therefore the following contains some important dental care tips for caregivers.

Because our mouths can harbour harmful bacteria that can severely affect other parts of the body, as a caregiver it may be up to you to ensure that the person you are caring for doesn’t neglect their dental care.

Dental Care Tips

Brushing Teeth

A powered toothbrush can make it easier for people who have dexterity issues. If using a manual toothbrush, make sure it has soft bristles so that it doesn’t damage the gums. In certain cases, you may need to stand or sit behind the person and have them lean into you for support while you brush their teeth for them. Use only a small amount of toothpaste or no toothpaste, as they may inadvertently swallow the toothpaste.

Gently brush the teeth and 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 the teeth. Brush the top and back of the teeth and gently brush the tongue and make sure to check for any food particles. Help the person rinse with plain water and spit into a sink or bowl. For people who can’t rinse, give a drink of water or consider sweeping the mouth with a finger that is wrapped in dampened gauze or a washcloth.

Make sure that they use floss or a floss pick after brushing their teeth.

Dental Care Tips for Caregivers - Aged Care
Dental Care Tips for Caregivers - Dentures

Partial or Complete Dentures

  • The person should be able to tell or show you how to take the partial or complete dentures out (with complete dentures, put the upper set back first, then the lower set)
  • The dentures must be cleaned daily
  • Look for any cracks in the dentures. If you find any, they will need to be taken to a dentist for repair
  • Fill the sink with warm water
  • Scrub the dentures with a denture brush and soap
  • Once you have finished cleaning them, rinse with water
  • Soak the dentures overnight. They can be soaked in a special cleaner designed for dentures, in warm water or even a mix of warm water and vinegar (50/50). Should the denture have metal clasps only use warm water for soaking.

Monitor Foods and Drinks

As a caregiver you may need to monitor their intake of sugary / starchy foods and drinks to reduce the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

Regular Dental Appointments

A dental professional can assess the state of their teeth, mouth, gums, throat and tongue along with making any adjustments to dentures, etc.

Dental Care Tip for Caregivers - Dental Appointment

The Risks of Poor Dental Care

Dental Care Tips for Caregivers - Heart

Pneumonia

The very young and the elderly are usually the most affected by this. Maintaining good dental hygiene can prevent the bad bacteria from entering the lungs.

Heart Disease

Inflamed gums is a sign of gum disease; one type is called Periodontitis. This can be quite nasty, because the inflammation can allow the bacteria to enter the bloodstream, which leads onto the heart.

Diabetes

Unfortunately people with diabetes have a higher risk of gum disease. By promoting good dental hygiene, following a strict diet and making regular visits to the dentist can greatly improve the chances of keeping gum disease at bay.

Oral Cancer

Poor dental hygiene may not be the trigger for oral cancer, however the care giver may spot the signs, so that it can be treated asap.

Such signs are:

  • White or red lesions on the lips or in the mouth
  • Mouth sores that bleed or won’t heal
  • Lingering sore throat or hoarseness
  • Pain moving the jaw or tongue
  • Pain or difficulty with eating or swallowing
Dental Care Tips for Caregivers - Aged Care

In Summary

Your role as a caregiver is a vital one and you want to ensure that your loved ones are receiving proper dental care, because keeping their mouth healthy helps to keep their body healthy….

As a caregiver if you have any questions relating to the Dental Care of the person you are looking after, feel free to give our team at “The Dental Junction” a call on 07 5473 5117 or contact us via the Website.

Leave a Reply