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What do I need to know about caring for someone's oral health?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Brushing and flossing are the best way to maintain oral health. Therefore, one important aspect of caring for someone's oral health is ensuring that they are completing these tasks correctly. Be sure that they brush at least twice a day and floss once daily. They should also have professional cleanings and examinations by a dentist, which are usually conducted every six months. If the person you are caring for cannot brush or floss normally due to oral surgery, there are alternative options for their dental care. A prescription mouthwash containing chlorhexidine can temporarily be used in lieu of brushing.

If you are caring for someone else's oral health, here are some helpful tips:
  • Make sure the person brushes his or her teeth at least twice daily and after eating, using a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Help the person floss between the teeth once a day to remove any debris, food, and plaque that has built up. Flossing is important to reduce the chance of gum disease, or gingivitis.
  • Be sure the person uses an antiseptic mouthwash each time he brushes to reduce mouth bacteria.
  • Take the person to the dentist every six months for a professional dental cleaning and oral exam.
  • If the person has a foul breath odor, talk to the dentist. Breath odors that do not go away may be related to a sinus or throat infection, or a health condition such as diabetes, a disorder that disrupts the way the body uses glucose.

You should know that caring for oral health is important. You can help by:

  • reminding him or her to brush twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste
  • limit sugary foods and snacking to limit attacks to teeth
  • eat a well-balanced meal
  • floss once daily
  • schedule regular dental visits
  • contact your dentist if you suspect any problems

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.