Denture Care (Advice for Caregivers)
ADVICE FOR CAREGIVERS
Many people do not realize the importance of maintaining the health of their mouth after they lose all or even some of their natural teeth. Food debris and bacteria continue to accumulate throughout the mouth, including on the tongue, remaining teeth, and dentures, forming plaque, which has the potential to cause cavities, odours, sores, and irritation. If you provide denture care assistance to others, here are some things to keep in mind.
Having the following supplies on hand will make your work much easier:
- protective gloves
- lip lubrication
- labelled denture container
- denture brush
- mild cleanser, such as liquid soap
- soft-bristled toothbrush
- non-foaming toothpaste
- mouth prop
- Inter dental devices, such as floss, inter-dental brushes, for individuals with natural teeth
- kidney basin
Determine the level of assistance required and encourage the individual, if they are able, to follow the Helpful Hints for Daily Denture and Mouth Care located at www.dentalhygienecanada.ca/denturehints. If the individual requires assistance, put on your gloves and lubricate their lips. If possible, have them take their dentures out. If not, gently place a finger on the back of the denture and apply gentle pressure to remove. Place a towel or face cloth on the bottom of a sink half-full of water to reduce the impact if the dentures are accidentally dropped during cleaning.
Note that, while brushing the individual’s teeth, gums, tongue, and roof of mouth, it may be helpful to use a mouth prop to ensure adequate access and avoid being bitten. Remove plaque in between natural teeth using inter-dental devices, such as floss. Ask the individual to spit into the kidney basin if they have difficulty swallowing.
Once the dentures and mouth have been cleaned, look for any changes and ask them how their mouth and dentures feel. Make appropriate referrals or encourage the individual to seek immediate care from an oral health professional if you identify an area of concern.
It is important to take dentures out daily for appropriate cleaning and visit an oral health care provider, including a dental hygienist, regularly to maintain oral and overall health as well as denture integrity. Dental hygienists can professionally remove debris from dentures using an ultrasonic cleaner and label dentures to avoid misplacement. Arrange a dental hygiene visit today!