Mouth care

graphic showing tooth brushing
About mouth care

graphic showing tooth brushing


  • Good mouth care (oral health) is important to prevent tooth decay and gum disease
  • It is also an important part of keeping your chest healthy
  • Poor mouth care hygiene can lead to the build-up of harmful bacteria in your mouth
  • The bacteria could travel to your lungs where it could cause a chest infection
  • You should brush your teeth or clean your mouth at least twice a day
About your toothbrush

Your toothbrush should have a small head with medium bristles.

An electric toothbrush can be good choice as they often have a small brush head.  A small toothbrush head is ideal for cleaning all areas of the mouth.



Adapted toothbrushes

A standard toothbrush can be easily adapted as shown and can be helpful for people with manual dexterity issues

There are various adapted toothbrushes that can be used, for example three-side toothbrushes such as Dr Barmans or Collis Curve


Dr Barmans toothbrush head
Dr Barmans toothbrush head
collis curve tootbrush head
Collis curve tootbrush head

MouthEze Brushes

MouthEze brushes can be used to clean the soft tissue of the mouth and to remove any food particles.

MouthEze brushes can also be used to apply mouth gels can and to care for a dry mouth.

MouthEze toothbrush head
MouthEze toothbrush head

Sponge mouth swabs should not be used as there is a risk of inhalation.

About your toothpaste

  • Your toothpaste should have the right amount of fluoride in it
  • Look at the ingredients, it should say 13500-1500ppm
  • Only use a pea sized amount of toothpaste
  • If you are not able to spit after toothbrushing, make sure the toothpaste is pushed into the toothbrush
  • If you have difficulties swallowing, you should use a non-foaming toothpaste
  • The name of the foaming agent used in toothpaste is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (S.L.S)
  • Check the ingredients to make sure your toothpaste does not have S.L.S in it if you have difficulties with swallowing

Here are some examples of non-foaming toothpaste

  • Oranurse Unflavoured toothpaste
  • Sensodyne Daily Care Gel
  • Sensodyne Pronamel
  • BioXtra toothpaste
  • Oralieve toothpaste
  • Aquafresh Children’s Little Teeth
Being supported to brush your teeth
  • If you are being supported with brushing your teeth, it is important that you and the person helping you are comfortable
  • Someone assisting should explain what they are doing
  • If you can, agree a signal with the person supporting you to let the know that you want to stop
  • Brush your teeth wherever you feel the most comfortable, this could be in the bathroom, bedroom, or even in a comfy chair in front of the television
  • You should be sat in an upright position, in the seating that you find the most supportive
  • The person helping you may find it helpful to stand behind you, and slightly to the side
  • Brush teeth in a systematic way remembering to brush all surfaces of the teeth
  • If you have difficulty keeping your mouth open during mouth care, a finger guard can be used to help support the mouth to stay open
  • Spit don’t rinse after brushing
  • Remember, you can stop at any time

How to brush your teeth

Before you start brushing:

  • Have some clean towels ready to protect your clothing and wipe your mouth.
  • Remove any dentures
  • Tuck in your chin, the person helping you can support your chin if needed.

Start at the back of the mouth and work all the way around to the other side.

Brush all 3 surfaces of each tooth:

  • The outside of the tooth
  • The inside of the tooth
  • And the biting surface of the tooth

Remember to do this for both the top and the bottom teeth.

Have regular breaks when brushing your teeth.

If you are able to, you may want to spit out any extra toothpaste.

When you have finished brushing, do not rinse your mouth.

Instead, clean any remaining toothpaste from your mouth by spitting if you are able to, or by wiping with a clean cloth.

Rinse the brush with cold running water and allow this to dry.