We will be discussing Oral care procedure in nursing. Oral or mouth care is one of the basic nursing procedures, and it’s done to keep the mouth and teeth clean.
If there are infections in the mouth, oral care procedure helps deal with such disease and ensures one leads a good.
It’s the duty of a nurse to provide adequate oral care to the patients, and if a patient is feeling unconscious, there’s a need for this professional to provide oral care more frequently than usual because an unconscious patient breathes through the mouth.
In this article, you’ll learn more about the reasons for oral hygiene, tips for oral hygiene, and oral hygiene procedures in nursing.
Want to learn more? Let’s get into the details!
Why Oral Hygiene?
One part of your body houses a ton of bacteria in the mouth as many bacteria inhabit this part. Though mostly harmless, some can cause serious diseases to the mouth.
Hence, it’s important you take good care of your mouth as it can serve as an entry point to various diseases and illnesses in the body.
Every human has some level of natural defense against these bacteria, but it’s crucial you also practice good oral hygiene to ensure you don’t take any chances regarding your health. Daily brushing and flossing can do a great deal of damage to these bacteria by putting them under control.
In a situation where a person doesn’t care about oral hygiene, brushing, and flossing the mouth, the chances for such a person to develop mouth diseases are very high. Also, this individual can as well develop gum disease and tooth decay.
The good news is there are medications that can help in reducing the bad activities of these microbes in your mouth. Some of these medications are antihistamines, painkillers, antidepressants, and decongestants.
Another reason you need to take oral hygiene seriously is that gum disease caused by not taking good care of the mouth can play a critical role in diseases such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS.
These diseases reduce your immunity and can severely damage the gum if care isn’t taken.
Tips for Oral Hygiene
Here are important tips you should consider in obtaining oral hygiene:
Brush your teeth often
Regular brushing of teeth is the first step to oral hygiene as it helps remove food particles, bacteria, and any formed plaque from your teeth. The standard is to brush twice daily to ensure the teeth are clean at all times.
You also need to learn how to brush effectively; it’s how many times you brush that matters and how you handle the process. When you brush incorrectly, you’re likely going to damage your gum and ineffectively brush the teeth.
You should always consider using a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush your teeth because hard bristles can cause serious damage to the enamel of your teeth.
You also want to ensure you change the toothbrush as and when it should be changed to ensure effectiveness when brushing.
To effectively brush your mouth, engage in short, back, and forth strokes and make sure the brush touches every surface of your teeth. It doesn’t have to take you too much time to brush your teeth; a two-minute brushing should do the cleaning effectively.
Be on proper nutrition
There’s a huge connection between the type of food you consume and your oral health. When you take too many sugary foods and beverages, you’re likely to develop a couple of teeth diseases, which could damage your teeth.
The microbes in the mouth use sugar from the food you consume to create the acids that cause damage to the teeth.
This means if you reduce your intake of sugar, you’re automatically lessening the chances of having teeth diseases and damages.
Suppose you can also incorporate chewing fruits and vegetables in between meals. In that case, your teeth will last longer because this stimulates saliva production, which in turn helps in washing down food particles in your mouth.
Also, make it a habit to drink a lot of water because when you’re hydrated, it becomes pretty difficult for the oral microbes to function.
Make dairy products part of your meal as they are rich in calcium, which helps in making the teeth strong. They can as well reduce the acidity levels in the mouth, which means there will be reduced damage to the mouth.
Aside from brushing the teeth daily, you also want to ensure you flush as well daily. This is because the food particles in between the teeth are dangerous if left untaken care of.
These food particles can result in teeth decay and gingivitis that could go on and reduce the shelf life of your teeth in general.
When you floss daily, you’ll be able to dislodge these food remnants and prevent them from impacting oral health negatively.
You need to be careful when flossing because many people struggle with it. Alternatively, there are implements such as water flossers that can be used to do this easily and effectively.
There’s been a ton of studies that have established the health benefits of fluoride in oral health. Fluoride binds with the enamel of the teeth, thus making the teeth stronger by strengthening and remineralizing them.
You can always go for fluoride-infused toothpaste to maximize the exposure of your teeth to this teeth-enhancing substance. Also, there are mouthwashes and gels that are fluoride-based you can leverage.
There’s no sophisticated way to say it than saying smoking can significantly harm your teeth and compromise your oral health.
It allows the growth of bacteria in the mouth, then dry it and consequently stain the teeth. This increases the likelihood of infection to the gum.
The same can be said of consuming alcohol; it’s detrimental to your oral health. This means when you quick smoking and take alcohol, you’re on a good path to oral hygiene.
Oral Care Procedure
Below is the procedure you should follow as a nurse in ensuring oral care hygiene for a patient:
First things first, you want to intimate the patient with the details of the procedure so as to get prepared for the activities that will ensure. This helps in reducing the feeling of unease on the part of the patient.
The next thing you should do is wash your hands to reduce the transmission of microorganisms. Then get all the tools to be used to the procedure’s room in order to promote the efficiency of the process.
Thoroughly clean your gloves and wear them to ensure there’s no direct contact with any fluids that may contain microbes.
The next thing to do in the procedure is to access the oral mucosa, teeth, and throat, which will help determine the oral cavity status. You should take the patient to the edge of the bed to prevent any aspiration.
Gently put a mackintosh with a face towel on the patient’s chest, then tuck it under the chin to make the patient comfortable for the procedure. Raise the head end on the bed to 45 degrees to prevent aspiration.
Check the patient’s oral cavity thoroughly with a torch, tongue depressor, and gauze. This makes it easy to see any changes or infections or ulcers in the oral cavity.
Then pour antiseptic gauze into a cup, then squeeze with the help of artery forceps to prevent any infections.
The next thing to do is to clean the teeth from incisors to molars with the use of up and down movement from gums to crown to promote proper cleanliness. Also, use one clamp to pick up gauze to prevent cross-contamination.
Discard the used gauze into the basin and offer a tumbler of water for the patient to gargle his mouth in. once this is done, lubricate the patient’s lips with a swab stick as this will prevent both dry lips and lips crack. Then wipe the face with a towel to make the patient comfortable.
Final thoughts on Oral care procedure in nursing
Oral care is one of those frequently done procedures every nurse has to handle. The impact of this procedure is invaluable as it helps patients have disease-free mouths by preventing tooth decay and gum diseases.
Oral care procedure help in reducing tooth sensitivity, tooth canal and oral surgery. It also helps in lowering the chances of patients developing terminal illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke.