1-11. ORAL HYGIENE
Oral hygiene (mouth care for cleanliness) is essential to the care of all patients,
as the mouth normally harbors many bacteria. The patient's resistance may become so
lowered during illness that severe infections of the mouth tissue may result. Mouth
breathing, restricted oral fluids, elevated temperature, and other conditions that may
accompany illness cause drying and cracking of mouth tissues. Such conditions aid the
development of infection. When a patient is too ill to care for his mouth and teeth, the
medical specialist must help him or must perform the procedure for him. Ambulatory
patients may need reminding to carry out self-care measures. Problem in oral hygiene
should be referred to the Dental Service.
1-12. ROUTINE MOUTH CARE
a. General. Mouth care should be given at least every morning and evening to
all patients, and preferably after every meal. Routine mouth care is essentially assisting
a patient to brush his teeth (figure 1-11) and to rinse his mouth thoroughly, as often as
needed. The purposes are to keep the mouth clean, to prevent sores and mouth odors,
to retard or prevent deterioration of teeth, and to refresh the patient.
Figure 1-11. Cleaning the teeth.
b. Equipment. The following equipment is appropriate for routine mouth care.
Glass of water.
Drinking tube if necessary.
Toothbrush and dentifrice.
Mouthwash, if desired.