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«This project funded by the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation 1 of 59 Module 1 Why? The Importance of Daily Oral Care for the Elderly 1 of 59 PLAQUE is ...»

Oral Health Training Program

A Unique Oral Health Curriculum for Nurses and

Nursing Assistants in Nursing Homes

Curriculum provided by University of Kentucky College of Dentistry

Division of Public Health Dentistry

Photographs provided by the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry and

Dr. Robert Henry

This project funded by the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation

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Module 1


The Importance of Daily Oral Care for the Elderly

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PLAQUE is a substance filled with bacteria which forms every day on teeth.

plaque Thick plaque forms if person doesn’t brush regularly. Plaque may be clear, white or may be stained and look yellow. 3 of 59 Plaque causes tooth decay (cavities).

Plaque Tooth decay 4 of 59 Plaque also causes gum disease plaque Note that gums are very red and swollen. This person has gum disease. 5 of 59 Brushing and flossing is the best way to prevent gum disease and cavities Daily mechanical removal of plaque by brushing and flossing is essential to prevent cavities and gum disease.

6 of 59 Daily toothbrushing is especially important for frail elders.


7 of 59 A dirty mouth could be making frail elders sick.

9 of 59 Read information below then click here to see an animation If plaque is not removed from teeth by regular brushing it may cause serious problems in the body. This is because bacteria from plaque on the teeth drip into the bloodstream and cause hardening of the arteries, increased risks of blood clots and problems with blood sugar.

Plaque contains harmful bacteria that get into the bloodstream when plaque is not removed by regular brushing.

10 of 59 People who have diabetes who also have severe gum disease have more trouble controlling their blood sugar levels So this Can affect this 12 of 59 In fact, studies have shown that treating gum disease improves blood sugar levels.

13 of 59 And people who have diabetes who also have severe gum disease are more likely to die from complications

-11 year study of 628 people

- Those with severe gum disease had 3 times the risk of death from heart disease and/or kidney disease compared with those who had no gum disease, or mild or moderate gum disease.

Saremi et al. Periodontal disease and mortality in Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2005;28:27-32. 14 of 59 Breathing in germs from a dirty mouth is a significant risk factor for pneumonia.

Germs from this plaque can get into the lungs and cause pneumonia

–  –  –

Brushing lowers the number of germs in the mouth and lowers the chance of pneumonia.

Sjogren P et al. A systematic review of preventive effect of oral hygiene on pneumonia and respiratory infections in elderly people in hospitals and nursing homes. J Am Geriatr Soc 2008;56:2124-2130. 16 of 59 SECOND REASON: A healthy mouth helps people eat the proper foods and prevents pain.

–  –  –

19 of 59 Before providing oral care to anyone check with the charge nurse each day

• Check to see if there are any reasons you should not provide oral care for that day

• Check to see if you need to change theoral hygiene routine to eliminate liquids and toothpaste (any dietary restrictions, choking hazards, swallowing problems) 21 of 59 Do NOT use toothpaste, mouthwash or

water if your loved one is:

• Comatose

• On a restricted diet of thickened liquids and can’t have thin liquids

• Care resistant

• Unable to spit but instead swallows liquids placed in mouth 22 of 59 How to provide oral care without toothpaste, mouthwash or water?

• Simply moisten a toothbrush with a very small amount of water or mouthwash and brush teeth as you normally would.

• If possible floss teeth

• After brushing and flossing wipe the mouth out with a toothette or gauze moistened with mouthwash.

–  –  –

Soft toothbrush (labeled) • Fluoride Toothpaste (labeled) • 2 Clean Towels • 2 Paper cups (one for • water and one for mouthwash)

• Mouthwash (labeled)

• Floss and holder (labeled)

• Lip lubricant (labeled) 25 of 59 While you are setting up supplies, explain what you are doing

–  –  –

After you have washed your hands and gloved up, DO NOT touch anything before providing oral care for the patient. This will get germs on your gloves that you will then put in your patient’s mouth.

After you have washed your hands and put on gloves, DO NOT touch anything (except your loved ones own oral hygiene supplies) before providing oral care. Touching other things will get germs on your gloves that will go into their mouth and could make them sick.

During mouth care or after mouth care, do not touch anything except your loved ones own oral hygiene supplies. Their mouth has germs that will get on your gloves and can be spread to others by touching other people or other things. Your gloves should be removed and hands washed before touching anything.

–  –  –

38 of 59 What if your loved one won’t open?

• Don’t force mouth open.

• If possible, brush the outside surfaces of the teeth

• Brushing some of the teeth is better than brushing none of the teeth.

–  –  –

42 of 59 Rinse and Spit with Mouthwash

• Next help to swish with mouthwash and spit into a paper cup.

• The dentist can help you decide on the best mouthwash for your loved one. Some help prevent cavities, others are for dry mouth, others are for gum disease. The type of mouthwash to be used for each resident should be listed on the resident’s individualized oral care plan.

• If a dentist doesn’t recommend a mouthwash, an antibacterial mouthwash with no alcohol would be a good choice for most people.

–  –  –

If this is uncomfortable, you may use a toothette (swab) dipped in mouthwash to clean the inside of the mouth.

Then help to swish with mouthwash and spit into paper cup.

–  –  –

1. Place a cloth towel in the sink and fill the sink with warm water. Never put dentures directly over the sink without a towel. If you drop the denture it could break.

–  –  –

This photo shows irritation to the roof of the mouth caused by not taking the denture out at night.

48 of 59 Check denture each time you clean it

• Look for cracks, sharp edges, or missing teeth

• If you find a problem, put the denture in the storage container and let the dentist or charge nurse know about the problem.

49 of 59 When you are finished with oral care for both those with natural teeth and without…

• Clean up and store supplies

• Rinse toothbrush/denture brush well and place in the driest cleanest place in room

• Toothbrush/denture brush should be exposed to air to dry.

• Remove gloves and wash hands

–  –  –

51 of 59 Report to charge nurse or dentist any

of the following:

Pain • Sores, blisters or ulcers • Swellings, growths or lumps • Discoloration – red or white areas • Broken or cracked dentures • Broken or decayed teeth • Dry mouth •

–  –  –

Your loved one may be more

cooperative if:

You let them know that what you are about to do won’t hurt them but that it will help them be healthier and make their mouth feel clean.

–  –  –

When brushing their teeth you:

– Give breaks often – Use a gentle touch – Always use a very soft bristle toothbrush with a small head. This is more comfortable.

–  –  –

Don’t force it.

Try again later when your loved one may feel better.

58 of 59


1. The Southern Association of institutional Dentists Preventive dentistry for person with severe disabilities: self study course. Module 11: 2001.

2. Jablonski, R, Therrien B, Mahoney E, Kolanowski A, Gabello M, Brock A.

An intervention to reduce care resistant behavior in persons with dementia during oral hygiene: a pilot study. Spec Care Dentist 21:77-87, 2011

3. Teepia Snow, Expert in dementia care who trains health care providers and families.

4. Keeping the Older Person’s Mouth Healthy, A Caregivers Handbook, Saxe SS, Henry RG, Wekstein MW. Dept of Oral Health Science University of Kentucky College of Dentistry. 1988.

5. Chalmers JM. Behavior management and communication strategies for dental professionals when caring for patients with dementia. Spec Care Dentist 20:147-155, 2000.

–  –  –

Joanna Aalboe, MPH, Registered Dental Hygienist, Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky College of Dentistry Ada Carlisle, Registered Dental Hygienist Sandy Challman, Master of Instructional Technology, University of Kentucky College of Dentistry Kathryn Cunningham, MS Ed, Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching, University of Kentucky Tom Dolan, Senior Medical Illustrator and Multimedia Developer, University of Kentucky Stephanie Harper, Social Services/Butterfly Program Coordinator Dr. Robert Henry, Chief of Dental Services, Veteran's Administration Hospital, Lexington Kentucky Esther Nealy, Certified Nursing Assistant Dr. Judith Skelton, PhD, Director of Outreach and Engagement, University of Kentucky College of Dentistry

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