The residents from the Mercy Glen Homes have been busy with a Harlem Globetrotters trip, Wolves games, Blackhawks games, and New Year's Eve parties.
Jessie Krugler, Director of the Mercy Glen, wanted to share a new dental initiative begun at Mercy Glen to improve dental hygiene.
- All staff are being trained by our dental hygienist and dental assistant. We will have a training in each house completed by the end of January, with additional trainings to follow for any staff who missed the first.
- We are focusing on ensuring that teeth are brushed specifically after breakfast, as well as after the evening snack and medication pass (not just brushed once a shift). We have created toothbrushing stations in the front of each house to make the post-breakfast brushing easier!
- The dental office is sharing information on different types of brushes, flossers, mouthwashes, etc. Many of our residents now have 3-headed brushes. These brushes can brush the sides and top/bottom of the teeth all at once. While these brushes may not be as effective as an electric toothbrush, they have worked wonders for those who do not tolerate brushing well. We have several flossing tool options as well.
- The dental office is also going to be sharing a special toothpaste with us. The toothpaste turns plaque blue, so that staff and residents can see where the teeth were not brushed well enough. Once teeth are brushed and flossed well, the blue will be gone. This will especially help residents who are 'independent' in seeing if they in fact did a thorough job.
- I did inquire about the prescription mouthwashes that some residents use, as some families have asked. Per the hygienist, these mouthwashes do come with some side effects (can stain teeth) so are generally prescribed short-term to help combat bacterial risks that gingivitis might cause (in the hopes that the gingivitis will then improve within that period of time, and the risk will be lessened). They are antibacterial, so she stated that any over the counter mouthwash that says antibacterial will help. Like many prescriptions, she said some dentists are comfortable prescribing these long term, others are only comfortable prescribing short term, and some don't find a need to prescribe at all.
- At this point, dental hours have been increased, and our clinic is able to return to cleanings/check ups twice a year for each resident. We realize the importance of dental care and good hygiene, and also realize that many of our folks here are at risk for oral issues due to long term medication use, dry mouth/low saliva production, anxiety/intolerance of toothbrushing, and muscular issues. We are going to be working hard over the next year to improve the care that the residents are receiving.
Please let us know if you have any questions or thoughts on improving dental care.