The maintenance of good oral hygiene is crucial in all patients, particularly patients with advanced disease. Poor oral hygiene can have physical, psychological, and social repercussions. Poor oral health may lead to other problems such as halitosis and dental caries. For patients in their terminal stage, poor oral hygiene may increase the risk of aspiration pneumonia. This chapter focuses on oral hygiene of terminally ill patients by providing an overview of oral hygiene assessment, maintenance of oral hygiene, and the importance of providing ample attention to the training of health care providers and carers on oral care and health. The core of this chapter is on the oral care practices and procedures which are necessary for caring and maintaining good quality life of patients with progressive disease. In this chapter, the frequency and the procedures of dental care such as toothbrushing, interdental cleansing, and chemical plaque control are discussed. Included as well are the proper procedures for taking care of the dentures used by these patients as well as the proper care of the oral mucosa of terminally ill patients.
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