Swallowing Deficiency

Swallowing deficiencies, also called dysphagia, are very common among the disabled community. It is essentially having a difficult time swallowing and moving food from the mouth to stomach. It is very serious and can be life threatening so if you suspect your loved one is suffering from some type of swallowing problem, contact his or her doctor right away. 

This can easily and tremendously affect oral hygiene and make it difficult for the individual to tolerate brushing or toothpaste. Luckily, we have some tips and tricks that can help you maintain your loved one’s oral health despite having any swallowing difficulties.

How to identify a swallowing defect:

  • Client coughs right after eating or drinking something
  • Food or liquid leaks from the mouth/ a lot of drooling is occurring
  • Needs extra time to chew and swallow
  • Throat clearing is a problem
  • They avoid food that is hard to swallow 
  • Unexplained weight loss

Home treatment:

  • Use no more than a pea size of toothpaste
  • Use fluoridated rinse dipped on a toothbrush instead of toothpaste
  • Use a small piece of a sponge and dip it in fluoridated rinse and brush the clients’ teeth using the sponge
  • Can even just use water instead of toothpaste if your community has fluoridated water 
  • Try toothpaste that does not foam up while brushing
    • Sodium lauryl sulfate (also known as SLS) is the ingredient in toothpaste that causes it to foam. 
    • Many toothpastes exist without SLS which would be better for these individuals. Just make sure you get a toothpaste that still has fluoride in it 
    • SLS free toothpaste is also great for individuals that get canker sores often
  • Toothbrushes with their own suction built in