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Advice on Brushing Teeth
wonderland72903
Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2019 6:29 PM
Joined: 1/26/2012
Posts: 13


About three months ago my mother stopped cooperating when I try to brush her teeth.  She still allows me to put the toothbrush in her mouth but now bites down on it and "fights" to keep her mouth tightly closed with the toothbrush in it.  I use a small brush with a tiny bit of toothpaste and brush gently.  She is ninety-three years old and still has all of her teeth, and I would like to keep it that way.  Any suggestions would be most welcome.
ruthmendez
Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2019 7:21 PM
Joined: 9/8/2017
Posts: 1890


Hello. For over a year I've been using a mouth prop >>

https://www.net32.com/ec/softprop-mouth-prop-medium-green-cradles-edentulous-d-121747?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaignrderConfirm8&utm_content=prodUrl&utm_medium=email&utm_source=transactional&utm_campaign=your-order%40net32.com

However, I was not allowed to purchase the pole and I don't think it would of work as designed because my father does not comprehend to not disturb the mouth prop.  So, with my fingers I hold the prop, turned to the side, to keep his mouth open.  

Lately, I'm getting tired of using it, or my father is just, really liking to keeping his mouth just barely open.  Sometimes, it's more like I have to shove the mouth prop in, then turn.  I'm not very patient.

So, I just ordered this and it was delivered today>>

https://www.amazon.com/Finger-Protectors-Flex-Non-Stick-Scrapbooking/dp/B077D2KWRM/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1550970586&sr=8-18&keywords=finger+protector

It has 3 sizes for each finger, so I'm going to use all 3 sizes on my index finger and use my finger to keep his mouth open...

Tonight will be the first time I'll try it..

Wish me luck.
 
By the way, the finger protectors are flexible rubber.  So biting would still hurt.  That's why I'll use the 3 on my one finger.


JustLikeMom
Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2019 7:52 PM
Joined: 2/7/2012
Posts: 472


Following.   

My mother is able to brush her teeth, but refuses because she thinks she just did it or doesn't need it done.  When the aids remind her, she blows them off.  If they were to try and help her brush, she'd probably scream at them.  As a result, she has cavities at every dental cleaning (which I take her to every three months).

 

 


wonderland72903
Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2019 9:39 PM
Joined: 1/26/2012
Posts: 13


Hi Ruth.  Thank you for the information.  I am going to order and try the mouth prop.  Fingers crossed.  Lol.
wonderland72903
Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2019 9:43 PM
Joined: 1/26/2012
Posts: 13


Hi JLM.  I feel for you.  Since I am no longer able to get my mother into my car, she no longer visits the dentist.  The thought of her getting cavities after all the years of great dental health makes me sad.
markus8174
Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2019 11:21 AM
Joined: 1/25/2018
Posts: 417


JustLikeMom- You described my DW exactly. Prior to yesterday she hadn't brushed her teeth in over 4 weeks, (2 1/2 of those she was in inpatient rehab). She brushed twice yesterday!. With her health deteriorating in so many other ways, it doesn't seem worth it to fight her about tooth brushing. It's a good idea, but if it makes her angry enough to refuse her meds, or not use the toilet, it isn't a gain. I guess I'll just hold my breath when I kiss her.
TessC
Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2019 11:26 AM
Joined: 4/1/2014
Posts: 4708


I had to brush my mother's teeth and did so for years, but lately she won't open her mouth and if I do get the toothbrush in her mouth by some miracle-she clamps down on it like your mother does. I have to live with the fact that my mother will not be having her teeth brushed anymore.

 I use glycerine soaked swabs that I get from hospice and dip them in mouth wash and pucker her cheeks by hand and force it into her mouth. Sometimes I can rub her teeth with it, other times I cannot-but it keeps her breathe somewhat fresh and makes me feel like I am doing something for her dental care. Good luck.


LicketyGlitz
Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2019 1:34 PM
Joined: 2/3/2018
Posts: 330


How fortuitous! I have "Look up alternatives to tooth brushing" on my to-do list because we are having the same issues, wonderland! I'm going to adopt some of the suggestions already posted, but I also found these two articles with some good tips:

Ah, Teepa! Always so helpful! https://dailycaring.com/how-to-help-someone-with-alzheimers-brush-their-teeth/

I have no idea what the hell they're talking about in Step 1, but some of the rest of the strategies I'm gonna give a go! https://www.alzheimersreadingroom.com/2011/05/strategies-to-promote-mouth-care-in.html


dw743
Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2019 10:23 PM
Joined: 11/13/2018
Posts: 61


DW has been claiming that she has brushed her teeth, when she has not. (dry brush head when I check).

Huffs and puffs as she gets up to head for the bathroom. She has confusion as what to do, and how to do it. It's like teaching your child how to brush. Just had her to the dentist for cleaning/exam. Told them I try at least to have her use ACT mouthwash to rinse at nights. Just have to keep reminding her not to drink it. They said at least that will help a little. Moved up the time intervals for next exam from 6 months to 4, as one way to help her.

 


ruthmendez
Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2019 11:13 PM
Joined: 9/8/2017
Posts: 1890


ruthmendez wrote:

So, I just ordered this and it was delivered today>>

https://www.amazon.com/Finger-Protectors-Flex-Non-Stick-Scrapbooking/dp/B077D2KWRM/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1550970586&sr=8-18&keywords=finger+protector

It has 3 sizes for each finger, so I'm going to use all 3 sizes on my index finger and use my finger to keep his mouth open...

Tonight will be the first time I'll try it..

Wish me luck.
 
By the way, the finger protectors are flexible rubber.  So biting would still hurt.  That's why I'll use the 3 on my one finger.

 

Update....meh....guess I'll just have to stay with the prop. Although it's not used as designed but at least something is keeping his mouth open.  This all sucks.

opatricia
Posted: Monday, February 25, 2019 4:57 AM
Joined: 1/23/2018
Posts: 24


I encounter something similar with my mum. I usually suggest to her that we clean the teeth as a team! Have found when she closes her mouth that if I hold her hand that usually she will open up and I can clean the teeth. I use a babys tooth brush and small dot of toothpaste.

Wishing you luck.


romiha
Posted: Monday, February 25, 2019 7:48 AM
Joined: 12/21/2014
Posts: 469


ugh.  I'm not at the point of mom not opening her mouth - yet - but I brush her teeth morning and evening for her.  I use children's toothpaste so if she swallows, no big deal.  I wonder if there is a children's mouthwash that if swallowed, also no big deal?  I'll have to look into that.

So far, I am usually successful in getting mom to open her mouth.  I'll say, "Say EEEE" and when she does, I can get her front teeth brushed.  But like many of you, yes, she does clamp down at that point.  Then I'll say, "Say AHHHH" and so far most of the time she does, but clamps down again.  If I tell her, "Say AHHHH again" - sometimes she'll literally say, "AHHH again".   Sometimes I'll make a joke of the whole situation and ask her to say FEE followed by FI then FO then FUM.  

The current issue I'm facing is she is unable to figure out how to spit IN the sink. I end up having to push her forward so she does spit IN the sink, rather than at the edge where it then goes on her and the floor.  Since I never know when she decides she wants to sit, I am standing behind her, holding her upright with my body, and then place my foot on the door behind us as leverage.  She usually starts "fighting" me - which I totally understand  - but what else can I do? I really don't want her spitting on herself or the floor!  I'm actually grateful when she forgets to spit and ends up swallowing instead.  Thank goodness for children's toothpaste.  And thank goodness (?) for an attention span of 5 seconds.



ruthmendez
Posted: Friday, May 10, 2019 9:37 PM
Joined: 9/8/2017
Posts: 1890


I may have found a better solution!  

https://www.amazon.com/Open-Wide®-Mouth-Rest-Pack/dp/B00805NCG6/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=mouth+props&qid=1557542374&s=gateway&sr=8-4

 

 

 


MATRIX7
Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2019 5:30 AM
Joined: 2/22/2019
Posts: 1


Hi.  My father hasn’t brushed and teeth in many years. At this point he has lost most of them and it would cost $12,000 to get some new teeth put in. We have decided after discussing it with him that we are only going to use alcohol free mouthwash. He is semi cognizant however.  There may not be a good solution for your situation.
Jo C.
Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2019 9:32 AM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 9500


Teepa Snow's toothbrushing dynamic works for some but not for all.  Oral surgeons have special toothbrushes that are very, very soft and actually feel good to use for those that the brush is an issue. One can contact an oral surgeon's office to buy some from them.  Also, some of our LOs ae more apt to let mouth care be done if a children's flavored toothpaste is used and they are also without harsh chemicals so okay when swallowed.

As for refusiing to open one's mouth, Ruth will have to let us know how the small appliance is doing, and we hope when she responds here, that she still has all fingers intact for typing. 

Guess this goes under that old heading, If it isn't one thing . . . .

J.


RobOT
Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2019 11:04 AM
Joined: 3/12/2017
Posts: 26


That Open Wide device looks pretty good, I would avoid anything that requires putting my fingers in anybody's mouth. Even with protection I see a bunch of problems with doing that, including getting stuck when a LO decides not to let go. Even with a protective device your fingers could be badly injured. The human jaw is really strong, especially if the one doing the biting is angry, frightened, or just plain stubborn. My dad always says he's brushed his teeth, but he breathes through his mouth, and sitting in a closed car with him is proof enough that he doesn't! As was said, in picking my battles, meds, safety, and general peace just have to come before clean teeth. It makes me so sad--he would have hated this.
ruthmendez
Posted: Sunday, May 12, 2019 2:16 PM
Joined: 9/8/2017
Posts: 1890


Jo C. wrote:

...As for refusiing to open one's mouth, Ruth will have to let us know how the small appliance is doing, and we hope when she responds here, that she still has all fingers intact for typing. 

…..

Still got em! :o)

 
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