spitting when brushing teeth

Dear all

I am posting this on behalf of mum . She is my dad's carer. He has been diagnosed with PSP about 4 years ago now and need help for feeding and brushing teeth ( among other things ...). She is trying to make him spit but this doesn't work and he usually ends up soaked or having water dribbling down his neck at the front. Anyone have any devices / props - aside a towel that would help?

thank you for any tips!

take care

14 Replies

  • It seems that the spit and also the blow reflex is a problem with people with psp the only thing i can suggest is a dish under the chin to catch the dribble/spit when doing the teeth. Brian has got false teeth so not sure if anyone else will have a better solution.

    Not sure what the problem your mum is having with feeding your dad if its mess or choking. Janexx

  • thank you Jane :-)

    chocking - fingers crossed - ok so far we are careful about what is he fed - e.g. no couscous for example - and he wears a waterproof apron and a napkin so we manage the mess

    it is really the teeth brushing - my dad has a part denture but still a lot of teeth...


  • If you can get hold of a plastic kidney dish they are the best thing to fit under the chin to catch the spit/dribble. Janexx

  • My wife has swallowing problem and the carers had problems cleaning her teeth, biting down on brush or carers finger and unable to clear her mouth. The SALT team gave me a handout on cleaning the teeth, no water other than on small child's tooth brush, use very small amount of toothpaste, also change tooth paste to a non foaming type such as Sensadyne ask dentist for different types, divide mouth into 4 only do what the patient can tolerate and do different sections each time, do not rinse out after. Reducing water and foam reduces the spit. What is left is either caught in kidney dish or tooth mug. It has reduced chokes and gagging. Talk to Dentist and SALT team about it they will help you.

    Best wishes Tim

  • Tim

    thank you


  • What is a SALT team please? X

  • Apologies I should not use jargon, SALT stands for Speech And Language Therapy usually contacted via your GP in UK. If you are not in UK your doctor or medical practicianer will help.


  • Thanks.x

  • I had similar problem with spittle going down Chris until friend said to do his teeth in shower and sluice him off afterwards. Works brilliantly.

  • Hi,

    We used the suction machine (similar like the dentist) to avoid drooling and choking.

    Eventually we move to oral sponges for his oral hygiene.


  • I like Amilazy's answer. I used an electric toothbrush, and did as he suggests. A quick, regular brushing is all that's required. Minimal paste, little or no rinse required. And well done you, for realising your loved one has teeth! ;/

  • My mom with PSP. I brush her teeth with a hand towel for a shirt protector and hold an emesis basin under her chin to spit into. I use a small cup to give her water to swish and rinse.

  • Low foam toothpaste, I do the brushing and a flannel held to the chin and warm water to slowly rinse mouth is how I attempt it. But mum has always had an aversion to dentists and oral hygiene and although I've enforced a few visits and cleans on her she refuses to brush her teeth more often than not! Oh and a huge pinch of patience !!!!!

  • We use a plastic apron. Good luck! X

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