Tips For Helping A Loved One With Disability To Brush Their Teeth

If your loved one is too sick to care for their teeth, it might be up to you to step up to the task and help them brush their teeth. It may be a difficult task for a first-timer, but the following tips may help make it easy:

Choose an Appropriate Location

Don't let your loved one's mobility problems limit their dental hygiene. The bathroom isn't the only place where they can have their teeth brushed. Evaluate the available places and choose the best one for the task. For example, you can sit them down in the kitchen or dining room table, as there will likely be adequate light. You can even bring the provisions (toothbrush, basin, water, toothpaste and others) to their bedside.

Watch Your Hygiene

If your loved ones can't brush at all--for example, if they have fractured arms--it may be up to you to brush their teeth. Prevent the spread of germs, both from you to the patient and vice versa, by washing your hands thoroughly and using disposable gloves.

Take the "Tell-Show-Do" Approach

Somebody who has been used to taking care of their own dental hygiene may be apprehensive about letting another person do it on their behalf. It can even be a little frightening if the person is in pain. Therefore, take measures to keep the process as comfortable as possible; using the following steps may help:

  • Tell – Tell your loved one exactly what you are going to do at each stage of the brushing. For example, tell them when you want to move from upper teeth to the lower ones.
  • Show – Show what you are going to do before doing it. For example, you can hold up the brush in the air and make the gentle circular motions you plan to use when brushing the teeth.
  • Do – Execute the process you have talked about and shown to your loved ones as described in the preceding steps.

Be Patient with Your Loved One

Dentists advise people to brush their teeth for at least two minutes. However, this is only adequate if there aren't any interruptions or difficulties, such as the ones you are likely to face while helping a person brush their teeth. When helping someone, prepare to spend more than two minutes for teeth brushing. For example, your task may be interrupted by complaints, questions or even chitchat. Taking it slow and talking to your loved one is also a way of showing your care and concern for them.

Whatever you do, don't forget that dental care is not optional for persons; it is necessary. If you can't do it, you are better off hiring somebody (such as a hired caregiver) to help. Talk to your loved one's dentist like one from Four Corners Dental Group Fairbanks for further help with the person's dental care.