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Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia)

Dysphagia is most often caused by neurological conditions such as stroke, depression and dementia. Because dysphagia adds the additional risk of developing aspiration pneumonia, additional modifications and support are required for oral care routines.


  • If patient is sitting upright, tuck the chin down prior to oral care to prevent liquid from pooling in the back of the throat.
  • For bedridden patients, raise the head of the bed to a 90-degree angle, tuck the chin down and turn the head to the side.
  • Prior to brushing, remove any food left in the mouth with the corner of a soft, moistened cloth.
  • Slightly moisten the toothbrush with water but refrain from using toothpaste or mouthwash.
  • While brushing, clear debris or saliva from the mouth with a slightly damp wash cloth.
  • Brush teeth twice a day.
  • Maintain regular, periodic dental cleanings that include a fluoride varnish application by a professional hygienist.


  • Remove dentures during rest periods; soak dentures in water overnight with a cleansing tablet.
  • Every time dentures are removed, clean and brush them with a denture brush.
  • Dentures should always be labeled with the residentts name; your dentist can help.
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