Optimizing Home Care

It is because of the wide range of oral conditions commonly encountered in the elderly that the dental hygienist and dental assistant need to identify and suggest the mix of oral care products that will be most useful for each individual.

Intra-oral status may be influenced by many non-dental factors, such as:

  • Impaired arm and hand range of motion and dexterity
  • Impaired vision
  • Chronic diseases

It is important to realize the factors affecting oral hygiene may not remain constant. The hygienist and dental assistant may notice periods of moderately good oral hygiene and periods when oral hygiene is completely neglected. The latter is most likely to occur during bouts of illness or hospitalization.

In light of the dental and non-dental factors that affect oral care, efforts must be made to establish an acceptable plaque removal routine that is customized for each patient. There are several oral hygiene adjuncts that can yield greater patient compliance and effectiveness with oral hygiene care. Adjunct concepts to consider are as follows:

  • Modification of the toothbrush
  • Use of additional interproximal cleaners
  • Chemotherapeutic rinses
  • Cleaning of prostheses and proper use of adhesive