This essay will describe the nurses role in relation to promoting clients oral health. This
essay begins by firstly describing what oral health is, going on to then answer what is
good oral health care. It then goes on to discuss when and how oral hygiene is promoted
and what the consequences are of bad mouth care.
What is oral health? This is a frequently asked question with many different answers.
Brooker and Waugh state that “ oral care is a basic hygiene need in both healthy and sick
people.” it is an everyday routine which allow us to keep our mouths, gums and teeth in
good condition to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
Within the mouth cavity we have teeth and a tongue used along with the digestive system.
The teeth are used for biting and chewing and swallowing as well as enabling us to speak.
Not only is the mouth used as the first part of the digestive system, but to a lot of people
the teeth are a very important aspect to their personal appearance. To maintain healthy
teeth and gums, people should be visiting their dentist every six months or at least yearly
for check ups.(McQueen 2008) Brushing teeth at least twice per day with a fluoride
toothpaste and mouthwash, also trying to limit sugary foods and drinks to mealtimes. All
of these aim to reduce tooth and gum diseases and maintain peoples natural teeth.(McQueen
2008) The most effective way to reduce plaque, remove excess food and maintain healthy
gums is by brushing teeth twice daily and after meals and sugary snacks. Flossing after
brushing helps to remove food debris from the gums that cannot be reached by the
toothbrush. By flossing, a person is reducing the risk of having inflamed gums. (p.559
Alexander et al 2002). For people who find it difficult in brushing their teeth due to
maybe having a disability, may find it easier using an electric toothbrush or ones with
larger handles as this will allow them to brush their own teeth helping to maintain
independence.(Nazarko 2008) Not everyone has their own natural teeth, this may be
because of infection, poor diet or many other factors. But they might wear dentures. If this
is so, it is still extremely important that dentures are treated the same way as natural teeth
would be. That would be by cleaning them with a toothbrush and a non abrasive denture
toothpaste. (p 442 Brooker and Waugh 2007). People with dentures should also brush
their gums and plate of mouth and also ensure the dentures are correctly fitted as poor
fitting dentures can lead to inflamed or ulcered gums, discomfort and difficulty when
eating.(Nazarko 2008) Although people with dentures don’t have their own natural teeth,
they should still visit their dentist as they can see that the dentures are fitted correctly and
adjust if needed. But they can also notice any differences within the mouth cavity and
detect any oral infections.
The assessment of oral care is very important. It is recommended that everyone should
have a dental check up at least once a year.(p 163 Heath and Schofield1999). This should
be a regular part of maintaining good oral hygiene. It is also important that elderly people
should have their mouth routinely checked, rather than wait until a problem or infection
occurs.(Heath and Schofield 1999) When assessing a clients mouth the nurse or dentist
should be looking at the gums for any discolorations and swelling, as well as looking out
for ulcers and cancerous spots. The clients teeth should be check for any jagged edges,
loose or broken fillings and the number of teeth within the mouth should be counted and
checked for any overcrowding. Not only should clients’ natural teeth be checked but also
the clients with dentures or part dentures should have them checked out also. Dentures
should be checked for general wear...
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