Oral Health

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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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