Importance of oral care for unconscious patientDecember 15, 2019
There are so many reasons why people should maintain and protect their oral health at all costs. There are so many causes of tooth damage that people can encounter in their lifetime. Maybe at www.scottstdental.com.au you find information about stress and bruxism as two of the popular reasons why chipped tooth and tooth fractures are prevalent. Not only because it makes them look more beautiful to have pearly white teeth, but a person’s dental health can affect his overall general health. But what if a person becomes bedridden and is unable to maintain proper oral care? How can a carer or a guardian perform oral care for unconscious patient?
Proper oral care for unconscious patient
Imagine if you hadn’t brushed your teeth properly for a week, it would have felt icky and smelled awful. Even going a whole day without brushing your teeth would make your teeth feel grainy, dirty, and foul-smelling. So you can just imagine how difficult and uncomfortable it would feel to be trapped in an unconscious body of a comatose or bedridden patient. How bad their mouths would be because they cannot perform their oral care routine properly and regularly. This is the reason why oral care for unconscious patient is very important and are now becoming one of the improvements most hospital administrative departments would want to impose on their staff and patient relatives.
Why is oral care for unconscious patient important?
The mouth is the gateway of food to the body, that is why we have to take care of it. If our dental cavity has a problem, it will affect the way we eat, and the nutrients that our body gets will also get affected. Meanwhile, though most unconscious patients have nasogastric tubes (NGTs) where their food gets administered and sent directly to the stomach, the health of their mouths still has an impact on their overall health. If a patient does not maintain proper oral care, the bacteria that linger in their mouths may cause them mouth infections and it may even travel to the lungs and cause aspiration pneumonia. There are also some studies that link poor oral hygiene of comatose patients with systemic conditions like diabetes and heart diseases.
Who needs to ensure proper oral care for unconscious patient?
If a patient has poor oral health, one should not put all the blame on the nurses or other caregivers. Nursing assistants may complain that there are lacking supplies for oral care, and some do not have the training to care for patients’ oral health since it has not been considered as an integral part of the daily morning routine for bedside care.
More than the hospital staff, relatives of the patients should be able to perform a regular oral routine for their loved ones as well. Making sure that the patient maintains a healthy oral health is the responsibility of both the family members and the hospital staff as they both care for him.
How can one manage the oral care for unconscious patient? All hospital staff is given training and seminars on how to do brushing and rinsing of the patient’s teeth. Nursing assistants and aids can also educate and show relatives of the patients on how to perform these procedures to ensure that the patient can have healthy teeth and gums and free from any oral infections.