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Oral health care planning in home care

The second process in helping to improve an older person's oral health is oral health care planning. This follows the outcome of the oral health assessment and will help to inform the care planning process.

The aim of oral health care planning is to encourage older people to improve their oral health by supporting them to maintain a good daily oral care routine.

Oral health care planning is based on a simple preventative oral health care approach. The key strategies are:

Care of natural teeth

  • brush teeth, gums and tongue twice a day
  • use a soft toothbrush
  • use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste
  • spit don’t rinse after brushing
  • replace the toothbrush every 3 months.

Care of dentures

  • brush dentures twice a day
  • use a denture brush with mild liquid soap and water or a denture paste to clean then rinse dentures well
  • use a soft toothbrush to clean gums and tongue
  • put cleaned dentures in a container of fresh water overnight
  • to disinfect dentures use a denture soaking tablet.

Relief of dry mouth

  • keep the mouth moist by sipping plain tap water
  • limit sugary food or drinks, juice, tea, coffee and alcohol
  • avoid foods that are dry or salty or spicy
  • use a water-based lip moisturiser
  • ask the dentist or pharmacist about dry mouth products.

Tooth friendly eating

  • enjoy a variety of ‘tooth friendly’ foods such as vegetables, fruit and plain milk, yoghurt and cheese
  • limit snacking and avoid continual sipping of sugary drinks and sucking of sugary lollies
  • make it a habit to drink plain tap water to clean the mouth after meals, snacks, other drinks and medications.

Seeing a dental professional

The following oral health assessment questions can be used to help raise the awareness of older people and their families to possible oral health problems. 

See a dental professional if the answer is yes to any of the six questions about natural teeth, mouth or dentures:

  • Do you have any of your own natural teeth?
  • Have you had pain in your mouth while chewing?
  • Have you lost any fillings, or do you need a dental visit for any other reason?
  • Have you avoided laughing or smiling because of problems with your teeth, mouth or dentures?
  • Have you had to interrupt meals because of problems with your teeth, mouth or dentures?
  • Have you had difficulty relaxing because of problems with your teeth, mouth or dentures?

Quit smoking

  • encourage older people to talk to their doctor or pharmacist
  • call the Quitline.

Self learning activity

Learn about the key oral health planning strategies.

Good oral health begins at home

Good oral health begins at home (PDF 2210KB) provides a brief summary of the key oral health planning strategies.

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