(3) Remember that the patient's nonverbal communication may tell you
much about the way he/she is feeling.
BASIC PRINCIPLES OF MOUTH CARE
Provide oral care of the teeth, gums, and mouth.
Remove offensive odors and food debris.
Promote patient comfort and a feeling of well-being.
Preserve the integrity and hydration of the oral mucosa and lips.
Alleviate pain and discomfort, thereby enhancing oral intake.
b. General Guidelines.
(1) Oral hygiene should be performed before breakfast, after each meal,
and at bedtime.
(2) Oral hygiene is especially important for patients receiving oxygen
therapy, patients who have nasogastric tubes, and patients who are NPO. Their oral
mucosa dries out much faster than normal due to their mouth-breathing.
(3) You should provide for patient privacy during the procedure, as this is an
extremely personal procedure for most patients.
Oral care for the unconscious patient should be performed at least every
(5) Lipstick, chap stick, or vaseline may be applied to the lips to keep them
from drying out.
c. Nursing Records. Nursing observations for the patient's mouth should be
recorded in the clinical record, noting such factors as:
Swelling of gums.
Unusual mouth odor.
(4) Effect of brushing the teeth. Note if there is bleeding when you brush
the patient's gums and teeth.