Useful Oral Health Guidelines for Caregivers

Thousands of people in America are responsible for the care of a relative with disabilities. In particular, developmental disabilities can make it difficult to provide a person with appropriate dental care. To aid caregivers in this task, the American Dental Association offers several tips to make brushing and dental exams a smoother process:

  • Choose a well-lit location that allows you to clearly see the person’s mouth and teeth;
  • Schedule brushing and dental appointments at a time when the person is most responsive and comfortable;
  • Explain ahead of time what you are going to be doing. Use a calm and encouraging tone to avoid alarming the patient;
  • Move slowly and deliberately;
  • Follow a routine: If you typically begin brushing on the bottom left-hand side of the mouth, start there each time and continue in a patterned fashion;
  • Support the person’s head and pay extra attention to any signs of gagging or choking;
  • Give encouragement and help the person learn to independently care for their teeth;
  • Talk to a dentist who treats developmentally disabled patients to find out how to deal with situations in which the patient cannot open his or her mouth. In many situations, you can carefully use a special prop.

It is important to find a dentist who is familiar with the special needs of a patient with disabilities. Look for someone who is calm, understanding and friendly, and make sure the office is equipped to care for your individual family member. It is wise to sit down for a consultation prior to scheduling the first appointment so the dentist can get to know your family member and talk to you about his or her potential needs. Finally, always remember to choose a dentist on the True Dental Discounts, dental plan to receive significant discounts.


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