Mouth Care Tips

The topic for this weeks blog is healthcare. I have included a few youtube videos, one explains how to use the Oral Health Assessment Tool (OHAT) and the other explains mouth care training of both residents and for staff training. shows how to use the OHAT is excellent for staff training, even addresses mouth care for residents with care-resistant behaviors.

Shefali Patel which gives 101 information on mouth care. Patel is a speech therapist who is the founder and primary clinician at Ganga Learning & Rehab. She is certified in PROMPT training, Vital Stim Therapy, interactive metronome, and NICU. Patel has over seventeen years of work experience in health care. She if found of methods that include: yoga, acupressure, aromatherapy, brain gym, the listening program and among many others. Below is an article she wrote out in regards to mouth care using the lung washing method. For information on Patel visit her website at

Lung washing is actually a process, where the diseased lung is flooded with saline solution and cleansed while the healthy lung ventilates the body. This twice-a-day lung scrub is a super tip to keep your resident’s lungs cleaner and freer of harmful oral bacteria. Without further delay….here’s how to do it in three simple steps:

  1. Open your mouth
  2. Stick out your tongue
  3. Wipe it using a tongue cleaner, three scrubs.   Please do not forget to repeat at bedtime.  Oral health maintenance is so important for limiting complications associated with aspiration especially in our medically fragile elderly population.

The connection between the tongue and the lung?  First, the harmful oral bacteria (harmful enough  to cause heart disease and even kill a growing fetus) as well as the biofilm on the tongue contains toxins that our digestive system spews up onto the tongue overnight.  These toxins can easily infiltrate the lungs. In individuals with dysphagia (swallowing disorders), especially as a result of neuro- and immune-comprising diseases like Parkinson’s, Dementia, CVA, COPD and others, the risk of  pulmonary infections such as pneumonia is already high. Add to that pre-existing risk a fresh supply of bacteria infiltrating the lungs from the tongue daily and and you get pneumonia  It’s no surprise that for U.S. adults pneumonia is the most common cause of hospital admissions other than women giving birth.

Second, there is no second as important as the first.  The first is enough:  Oral hygiene is incomplete without tongue scrubbing. A couple scrapes a day keep the doctor away!  You may not want to use the underside of the metal spoon (it works, though!) so take a look at a U-shaped thin stainless steel scrapper (Ayurveda is one, available on Amazon).

In addition to scrubbing away bad breath (halitosis), increasing dental hygiene and improving your taste by better exposing those taste buds, your overall body health gets a deep acupressure massage. all by tongue scrubbing. How?

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The tongue is a mapped out to reflect all the internal organs just like your hand.  All energy meridians pass through the tongue and hence the Shastras of the East recommend scrubbing your lung…I mean your tongue three times, twice a day!

Shefali Patel CCC SLP


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