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How to Give Mouth Care

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

Why is mouth care important?

Mouth care is important because it prevents infection, plaque, bleeding gums, mouth sores, and cavities. It also freshens breath and improves appetite.

When should I give mouth care?

Mouth care should be given in the morning, after each meal, and before bed each night. The person may need more frequent or hourly mouth care if his mouth is in poor condition.

What items will I need to perform mouth care?

How do I prepare the person for mouth care?

Ask the person to move into an upright position if he can, or help him sit up. Turn the person's head sideways to keep him from choking if he needs to lie flat. Place the apron or towel on the person's clothes.

How do I brush the person's teeth?

How do I floss the person's teeth?

Ask the person's healthcare provider before you start to floss. You may be told to use waxed floss for easier movement between teeth. Thread the floss between each tooth, but do not push down on the gums too hard. This can cause gum damage. Make sure to floss on each side of every tooth.

Floss every day

How do I give mouth care to someone who wears dentures?

It is still important to clean the person's gums and mouth daily if he wears dentures. Remove the dentures from his mouth before you clean them. Moist dentures come out more easily. Ask the person to drink a sip of water before you remove his dentures. Gently rock the dentures from side to side to loosen them. Then pull them out.

When should I contact the person's healthcare provider?

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.