Taking care of someone with a serious disability requires patience and skill. That includes caring for their oral health. If you are new to this experience, Dr. Henry and our staff is happy to offer you some tips to get you on the right track.
Like everyone else, people with disabilities should brush twice a day. If they are unable to brush, you can help them. It may be helpful to wash your hands first and put on disposable gloves to help avoid infection. Make sure you in a position to see their teeth. It may help to stand behind them and hold their head in a reclining position. If your client has swallowing problems, you may not want to use toothpaste; use warm water instead. Remember to brush their tongue. Help them rinse with plain water afterward, or if they can’t do so, consider sweeping the mouth with a finger wrapped in gauze.
People with disabilities also need to floss every day, but many cannot do it on their own. It takes time to master. You’ll want to use a string of floss that is 18 inches long. Grip it between the thumb and index finger of each hand and wedge it between each tooth. Start with the lower front teeth and then the upper front teeth and work your way to the back. Adjust the floss a little as you go so the floss is clean for each crevice.
Another important task is to take your client to the dentist once every six months. It may take time for them to adjust to going to the office. We would be happy to schedule an appointment with you where there is no actual dental treatment in order to help your client adjust. Dr. Stephen Henry or a member of our dental team can even give you and them in-person pointers on how to brush and floss. Just call us in Foster City, California, at 650-341-5656 today!