Clean the teeth

Oral self care for people with decreased dexterity

If the person you care for has decreased dexterity, like people with stroke, Parkinson's Disease or dementia, etc., can brush but needs some help, you may think of ways to solve brushing problems based on their special needs and encourage independence in daily oral hygiene.

Oral care method

  • If the condition allowed, people with decreased dexterity may also perform tooth brushing at the basin of washroom. If not, let the person sit at a table. Place the toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, a small basin and a glass of water on the table within easy reach.
  • Ask the person to show you how they brush, and follow up with suitable recommendations. Perform hands-on demonstrations to show them the best way to clean their teeth.
  • If necessary, modify the toothbrush handle to make it easier to hold, such as make the toothbrush handle bigger or attach the toothbrush handle with a strap.
Photograph of a toothbrush, two pieces  of rubber band and a towel.
Photograph of a toothbrush with tailor-made handle.
Photograph showing a hand holding a toothbrush with tailor-made handle.
  • Using a powered toothbrush can lower the level of skill needed for toothbrushing, and make oral care easier.
  • Use correct brushing method to clean the inner, outer and chewing surfaces of all teeth.
  • To clean the interdental surface, people with decreased dexterity may use floss holder or interdental brush which is easier to manage.
  • Use of Chlorhexidine Gluconate mouthwash after toothbrushing may supplement the oral hygiene procedures. However, one should consult the dentist before use of this mouthwash.