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Curr Probl Dermatol. 2011;40:107-15. doi: 10.1159/000321060. Epub 2011 Feb 10.

Oral care.

Author information

1
Clinic for Oral Surgery, Oral Radiology and Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry, Basel University, Basel, Switzerland.

Abstract

Adequate dental and oral hygiene may become a challenge for all users and especially for elderly people and young children because of their limited motor skills. The same holds true for patients undergoing/recovering from chemo-/radiotherapy with accompanying sensitive mucosal conditions. Poor dental hygiene can result in tooth decay, gingivitis, periodontitis, tooth loss, bad breath (halitosis), fungal infection and gum diseases. The use of a toothbrush is the most important measure for oral hygiene. Toothbrushes with soft bristles operated carefully by hand or via an electric device help to remove plaque and to avoid mucosal trauma. A handlebar with a grip cover can be helpful for manually disabled patients or for those with reduced motor skills. In case of oral hygiene at the bedside or of patients during/after chemo-/radiotherapy a gauze pad can be helpful for gently cleaning the teeth, gums and tongue. The use of fluoride toothpaste is imperative for the daily oral hygiene. Detergents such as sodium lauryl sulphate improve the cleaning action but may also dehydrate and irritate the mucous membrane. The use of products containing detergents and flavouring agents (peppermint, menthol, cinnamon) should therefore be avoided by bedridden patients or those with dry mouth and sensitive mucosa. Aids for suitable interdental cleaning, such as dental floss, interdental brushes or dental sticks, are often complicated to operate. Their correct use should be instructed by healthcare professionals. To support dental care, additional fluoridation with a fluoride gel or rinse can be useful. Products further containing antiseptics such as chlorhexidine or triclosan reduce the quantity of bacteria in the mouth. For patients undergoing or having undergone radio-/chemotherapy, a mouthwash that concomitantly moisturizes the oral mucosa is advisable.

PMID:
21325845
DOI:
10.1159/000321060
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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