Mouth Care Swabs


Mouth Care Swabs are used in palliative and end of life care for oral care procedure.  It should be stressed that the swabs are not effective at removing plaque.


In September 2015 Health Education England announced the use of the traditional pink mouth sponge swabs had been banned, following an incident in Wales where a  pink mouth sponge was used by a carer, the sponge head became detached which led to a death.  There have been over 800 safety incidents reported since April 2008 whereby the sponge head has come off either because it has become loose or because the resident/patient has bitten down on the sponge. 


In England, these mouth sponge swabs are on a Medical Device Alert (MDA/2012/020)  The sponges are not designed to be soaked as the liquid can cause the head to loosen and detach and therefore there poses a risk of choking.






360 Degree Toothbrushes

The soft bristles make this product a suitable replacement to the mouth sponges.  The can be used to remove biofilm from the teeth and  soft tissues of the oral cavity such as the tongue, palate and cheeks.  It can also be used to hydrate the mouth with water or hydrating gel.  It is a  fast growing popular alternative to the Sponge swabs and can be purchased at Oralieve click here




An alternative to mouth sponge swabs is non-fraying gauze. Gauze squares are ideal for removing debris, plaque and dry mucus from the lips and oral cavity. 

Damp the gauze in water and wrap it around an index finger to remove plaque and food debris from the sulcus areas and outer teeth surfaces (buccal surfaces).  A pea-sized amount of non-foaming toothpaste may be applied to the gauze when removing plaque from the teeth.  The importance of plaque removal from the mouth and teeth is to lower the bacteria levels in the oral cavity It is important to also remember the sense of well being a clean mouth has as it is sometimes forgotten.


MC3 Sticks

MC3 sticks has a cone shaped head and soft round rubber filaments to help removed dried mucus secretions from the palate and helps with removing sticky mucus secretions from the palate and tongue and other soft tissues. ​ For more information and purchase click here


Small headed toothbrush

A soft, small headed toothbrush is recommended.  In nil by mouth cases an aspirating toothbrush can be used if a care home has these facilities.


Appropriately trained staff in oral care

It is recommended in Nice Guidelines that care homes provide adequate staff training to deliver specialist palliative.

{NICE Guidance 1.6.1} Develop and provide care homes with oral health educational materials, support and training to meet the oral health needs of all residents, especially those with complex needs



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