Are you a caregiver who is helping someone with a disability or medical condition? Does helping them with their dental care stress you out? Here’s tips for better dental care for the person you care for.
Being a caregiver for another person is an extremely stressful undertaking. Whether you’re a home healthcare employee or a family member, it can be overwhelming to be responsible for every aspect of another person’s life.
For some, dental care isn’t something they tend to emphasize in their own lives. It is however, especially important for those with a developmental disability or those recovering from a serious medical condition such as a stroke.
Here are helpful tips for caregivers to help the people they are responsible for take better care of their teeth and gums:
Where to handle dental care.
Most people brush their teeth at the bathroom sink. Someone who needs assistance in some way, this can be difficult as most bathrooms aren’t big enough for two people to stand at one basin.
Relocate to a different part of the house. The kitchen table is a perfect location because it provides a place to comfortably sit while the table provides a place to put the needed items. Just be sure to include a bowl and a glass of water so the person you are caring for can rinse and spit as needed.
How to comfort the other person.
The person you are caring for may not have the cognitive ability to understand what you are doing. In that case, try to ease their fears about what is going on. One technique is called “tell-show-do.”
First, explain what you’re going to do in very simple terms. Next, show them what you’re going to do by first doing it yourself. Show the person that brushing your teeth and flossing will not hurt. After you have put them at ease, help them with their dental care.
Remember it may be necessary to do this routine every time, especially for those who have memory issues. Make it as soothing and fun as possible. Be sure to modulate your voice so it is calming. Also, consider letting them hold a cherished item that will comfort them, much like a security blanket.
How to help with flossing.
When it comes to flossing, you may have a hard time helping the other person because of the angle that they are sitting. Consider using a floss pick instead as these are smaller than trying to get your fingers into the other person’s mouth.
How to adapt the process.
If the person you’re caring for can brush his or her own teeth, you may still need to help them with the process by adapting it slightly. Some people with motor skill issues may not be able to hold small objects (like a toothbrush) very well. Instead, look for oversized toothbrushes or those that are specially adapted to give a larger gripping handle.
We hope you found these tips helpful. If you have more tips you’d like to add, please share them with us! If you have any dental questions or concerns, please contact Bedminster Family and Cosmetic Dentistry.