5.4.3 Assisting Clients with Oral Hygiene

The following steps are recommended while assisting a client with oral hygiene:

  1. Gather all necessary supplies, including toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, kidney basin, water, mouthwash. If your client wears dentures, please see the section on denture care below.
  2. Explain the oral care procedure to the client.
  3. Wash hands.
  4. Place a towel across the client’s chest.
  5. Don gloves.
  6. If the client is able to brush their teeth, assist them as needed (e.g., empty the kidney basin, and move the oral care supplies away once they are used). If the client needs assistance with oral care, follow these steps:
    1. put toothpaste on the toothbrush
    2. pour water over the toothbrush into the kidney basin
    3. brush the teeth gently
    4. have the client spit into the kidney basin and dry their mouth
    5. use mouthwash
    6. move oral care supplies away

Did You Know?

Oral care for clients who are unconscious should be completed by PSW’s with special training due to the potential for aspiration.

A senior woman smiles widely while holding two balloons.
This woman’s teeth are in excellent shape due to effective oral care.

Denture care

For denture care, you will need  a denture cup, toothpaste or denture cleaner, denture brush, cool water to rinse, and a wash cloth in the bottom of the sink to cushion against the dentures breaking if they fall.  Complete these steps:

  1. brush the teeth with the toothbrush in the same way you would brush teeth in the mouth
  2. brush the inner plate of the top and bottom denture

Did You Know?

Some clients will wear a partial denture, which means that they require both teeth care and denture care to be completed. Read “Dental Health and Dentures” to learn more about the types of dentures that you may encounter.

The video “Oral Hygiene Instruction for Caregivers” by Archer Dental provides an excellent and thorough overview of assisting clients with oral hygiene tasks, including denture care and toothbrushing. Watch the entire video, and then take the quiz below to check your knowledge.

Click here for a video transcript in .docx format: Video Transcript

Practice Makes Perfect

After watching the video above, complete the following quiz to check your understanding


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Personal Care Assistant Copyright © by Jacquelyn McKnight is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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