Dental Tips for Care Givers

Caring for those who can’t take care of themselves means having patience. As a caregiver, you know this better than anyone. You also know how hard it can be to help that person keep their teeth healthy. It takes planning and time.
Everyone needs dental care every day. Brushing and flossing are important to good health. They are as important as taking medicine and getting exercise. A healthy mouth helps people eat well, avoid pain and tooth loss, and feel happy.
If the person you care for is unable to brush their teeth, you’ll have to do it for them. Here are some suggestions that you might find helpful:

  • First, wash your hands and put on disposable gloves.
  • Sit or stand where you can see all of the surfaces of their teeth.
  • Be sure to use a toothbrush with soft bristles.
  • Use a pea-size amount of toothpaste with fluoride, or none at all. Toothpaste bothers people who have swallowing problems. If this is the case for the person you care for, brush with water instead.
  • Brush the front, back, and top of each tooth. Gently brush back and forth in short strokes.
  • Gently brush the tongue after you brush the teeth.
  • Help the person rinse with plain water. Give people who can't rinse a drink of water or consider sweeping the mouth with a finger wrapped in gauze.
Contact your dentist if you have questions about keeping teeth healthy.