Helping a Loved One Take Care of Their Teeth
Dental care caregivers face challenges that guidelines can help them solve. Many caregivers ensure that their loved ones receive the dental care they need.
Unfortunately, some people, whether elderly or disabled, are not up to the task of daily dental care. Knowing what you should do as their caregiver can be a relief.
Dental Care Caregivers Tips
The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA)suggests the following tips for daily dental care.
“Tell-show-do” is the recommended approach. It means:
- Telling the person how to brush and floss.
- Showing them how to do it or showing them before you do it for them.
- Doing it in the same way you had explained.
An electric toothbrush is easier for some people. In some cases, you may have to brush their teeth for them. If the person has trouble swallowing or rinsing, JADA suggests that you only moisten the toothbrush with water.
For cleaning between the teeth, in addition to floss, you can use interdental flossers, or water flossers, depending on what seems to work best.
Prepare Ahead of Time
JADA suggests that you gather everything you need for tooth brushing and cleaning ahead of time. Also, you should do it in an area where the person feels the most comfortable. It doesn’t have to be in the bathroom.
You will need the following:
- Interdental cleaner
- A glass of water
- A bowl to spit into
- A pair of disposable gloves
You should wash your hands and wear the disposable gloves. You’ll put a small amount of toothpaste on the brush (pea size) and brush each tooth. Use a short stroke about the width of the tooth. You can help the person rinse with plain water.
If there’s a swallowing problem, to avoid choking you can swab the mouth with moistened gauze or a soft cloth.
If the person’s dentist recommends a mouthwash, then the person can also rinse with it. (Usually not recommended if swallowing is a problem.)
Dentures should also be cleaned twice a day and stored in a cup of water when sleeping.
Schedule Regular Checkups So Your Dentist Can Help You with Advice
At Hutto Hippo Family Dental, our dentists can help caregivers stay on top of dental care for their loved ones.