When someone can’t care for their own oral health, it’s up to someone else to take on the role.
Individual circumstances will always dictate the actual proceedings. For instance, if you are caring for someone who is unable to communicate but is or may be aware of what you are doing, then explaining what you are going to do should put them at ease.
In the beginning it can be embarrassing for all concerned, but a few tips could make the task easier for everyone.
It may feel a bit strange at first, so go slowly. If the person does not want your help, respect their wishes. Ask your dentist for advice in this case.
If the person has permanent dentures or dental implants, you will need to clean their teeth as normal using the appropriate toothpaste and toothbrush.
If the person has removable dentures, whether top, bottom, both, or partial, you will need to:
- Remove the false teeth for cleaning
- Check the teeth for damage
- Clean dentures thoroughly, but never use hot water
- Check the mouth for debris
- Ensure the mouth is clean inside
- Replace dentures, checking that they fit well
There are several important things to remember as part of the dental hygiene process, which are for the benefit of person receiving care.
Use only toothpaste suitable for dentures on the false teeth, or clean as recommended by the dentist.
Always follow instructions on any denture cleaners used, as some denture cleaning products are harmful if ingested.
The mouth should be rinsed and any remaining teeth brushed. However, if it is impossible for the mouth to be rinsed, then the mouth can be cleaned using a soft damp cloth or soft toothbrush such as a baby’s toothbrush.
As well, as checking the mouth for debris it’s also important to watch for the telltale signs of infection, denture stomatitis, ulcers, or even early signs of oral cancer.
Watch out for any decay in remaining teeth, as if minor problems are detected early they are often easier to treat.
If the false teeth are ill-fitting then denture adhesive may be required, or they may need to be relined or replaced.
If the mouth is sensitive then soft dentures which are flexible may be an option.
It is recommended by dental experts that dentures are removed overnight. They can be soaked either in an ultrasonic cleaner or in a denture bath.
Cleaning false teeth needn’t be difficult, even if they don’t belong to you. A clean mouth and clean teeth helps prevent bad breath.
These simple tips for cleaning false teeth should make the task easy while allowing the denture wearer to keep their dignity.