What you will need
- Disposable gloves (a new pair each time)
- Toothbrush – one with soft bristles and a small head
- Fluoride toothpaste – a pea-sized amount smeared onto the brush. If the person doesn’t like toothpaste or has swallowing difficulties, brush with water only
- A basin or bowl
- Towel to protect the person’s clothing and wipe the mouth
- Good light (a camping head torch can be useful)
Before you start
- Read the person’s oral health care plan (if they have one).
- Make sure the person is comfortable and as upright as possible.
- Assist from behind, the side or in front depending on what feels right for both of you.
- Make sure the person understands what you are going to do and is ok with each step before you do it.
How to brush
- Encourage the person to relax their lips and cheeks.
- Introduce the toothbrush at the corner of the mouth.
- Place the toothbrush on the gum line.
- Brush one or two teeth at a time in small, gentle circles.
- Consider using a second toothbrush to lift the lip and cheeks to see the gums better.
- Clean all surfaces of the teeth: outside, inside and chewing surfaces.
- Gently brush the insides of the cheeks, the gums and under the tongue.
- Help the person to spit out any toothpaste left in the mouth.
See how to brush