Are you caring for a loved one who is confined to bed rest? Whether the situation is temporary or not, oral health should be maintained as long as the patient can tolerate it.
Neglecting oral hygiene during illness is a recipe for more problems later on. The primary concern in caring for a bedridden patient is making sure they are comfortable. Poor hygiene can lead to discomfort in the mouth or even pneumonia, but it’s not always practical nor comfortable to maintain a “traditional” brushing and flossing routine.
The Right Products
Don’t assume the patient can use the same toothpaste or mouthwash you do. Some products contain ingredients that can irritate sensitive oral tissues or interact with medications.
As it becomes difficult to remove cavity-causing plaque, fortifying teeth with fluoride becomes very important. Antimicrobial rinses are also essential in lowering bacterial count in the mouth.
The Right Tools
Delicate mouth tissues could make the patient’s mouth prone to injury. Your loved one may not be able to handle a toothbrush like they used to do. Choose toothbrushes with small heads and very soft bristles. Use a powered one, if possible, and remember that flossing may not be a practical activity at this point.
The Right Help
If you have some certified assistance in looking after your loved one, make sure all caregivers are on the same page about providing oral hygiene care. Not all professionals worry about that as they should.
Talk with the patient’s doctor to find out which products are safe to use and which issues are priorities. Lastly, contact a dental professional for advanced suggestions on providing gentle dental care to your bedridden loved one.
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791 FM 1103 #119
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