Teeth Cleaning & Update

Greetings All

Has anyone got any suggestions on how I can clean G's teeth, she can no longer brush them, just clamps he teeth shut on the toothbrush. She won't allow me to do them for her. Using a child's toothbrush doesn't work, nor does an electric toothbrush. As for spitting, it's just not happening, more of a dribble.

In other news G had a PEG fitted on Wednesday, the surgeons allowed me into theatre with her which was brilliant and totally fascinating. I was even useful when the theatre staff and surgeons couldn't get the mouth plate in/out of G's mouth, so I could be in for a new line of business! The have to see the funny side or I'd go under! The reality of it is of course that G is progressing through this poxy disease. The dietician is coming tomorrow to explain things, and someone else from Nutricia(?) on Tuesday. So hopefully I should know what I'm doing in a couple of days, as I only know how to flush the PEG through and give water.

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33 Replies

  • Hi,

    I haven't, but if all else fails a top quality mouthwash will keep the bacteria under control.

    Better than nothing.

    OK I'll admit it: I hate cleaning my teeth and do that twice a day... I have never told my dentist who complements me on how good my teeth are and how little he has to do, which is mostly just a clean. I don't eat or drink much in the way of sweet things though.

    I hope you get a better reply.



  • Thanks Kevin

  • Hi, Kevin! Haven't seen you around much lately. How are you doing?

  • We survive!

    Its been a bit tough and busy.

    Liz has had another rather marked step down and now feels too drowsy to get up before 1400. She has been a bit out of control with her anxious laughter and high expressed emotion. Even asking for a drink involves intense emotion and drama. She has quietened a bit the last couple of days.

    And now she spends the morning in bed I have quiet time to study and be calm.

    I've fallen behind with the posts a bit.

    I really understand what you say about going back to the hills... for me it is the sea... I dream of being on a small yacht at sea a few times a week. I think I left something of me there.




  • Welcome to the world of PEg....I am rather envious you got to watch the procedure....and yes a new line of business....who knew! My husband has had his for a solid year now and it has kept him alive. He went from choking to PEG without passing into the world of the pureed! Of all the things I do for Bruce maintaining the PEG tube is the easiest. I do suggest you ask about how to keep her regular. she may not get enough roughage .....Bruce got really constipated....but this is the first time....unfortunalty it came at the same time as a UTI so he's been a sick puppy!

    Now about the brushing. B still uses an adult electric brush.....but it's not easy. He fights with himself getting the thing in and out and around his teeth. Speech therapist suggested a sponge that they make for this very thing. B however no longer brushes his teeth at night. He uses an anticavity mouth wash......Unfortunately , he swallows the most of the swill and takes alot of time trying to get out the remaining. I gave him a square plastic bowl inwhich to spit since he can no longer reach the sink in his wheel chair. I also put a towel around him for the invariable fluid that does not reach the bowl!

    Well that's all I got....It is important to take care of the teeth even when you are not eating....infact they say that if one does not constantly remove saliva via swallowing, bacteria will grow and may cause decay. We have a suction machine to help B with drooling and getting rid of old saliva....If you live in the UK, do you have specialized dentists? They may be able to help you with this as well....

    Best of luck and may the Enteral be with you , keep smiling!


  • Thanks AVB, yes we are in the UK, on the south coast. I will speak to the dentist to see what they say.

    Constipation has been a problem before the PEG, So definitely going to ask about that!

    As for smiling ........ I am hitting this year with positivity, kidding myself that if I'm positive it won't get any worse ,,,,,, I knew w that's not true but for me worth a try

  • Thanks so much for this. Having the same problem with my husband. He is still eating but not swallowing the food, just holding it in his mouth. I took him to the dentist last week because he had a fall in respite care and knocked a tooth out but it was almost impossible to get him to open his mouth and then he clamped his teeth shut on the dentist's hand! I will try the mouthash but I think it may be time for PEG feeding.

  • It's definitely hit or miss with us. He sort of uses an electric toothbrush and sometimes lets me do it, but the clamping gets in the way of my doing the inner surfaces. To rinse I pour water from a cup into and out of his mouth as I hold a basin below his chin, and he so far generally manages a dribbly swish and spit. The dentist recommended I try a water pic, and I mean to look for one if I ever get the chance. Basically, I figure his teeth are the least of our worries, anyway. Whatever we manage is all to the good, and whatever we neglect, oh well. I do hope someone has a good idea, though. I'd love to see one!

  • I have a water pic for myself and they are good and it is a lot smaller than a toothbrush but they put a lot of water in the mouth and that might be a problem. Also they really need to be between the teeth which may be difficult. Mouthwash sounds a really good idea. Vronb. Xx

  • The US has these little cleaners which fit over your finger and you can rub it on the teeth. Not as good as brushing but better than nothing. Here they are Oral B Brushups.

  • Interesting. I will check that out. Thanks!

  • Just seen one here in uk. Called a finger tip brush.

  • Hi,

    Our neuro suggested that oral hygiene is important as the bacteria can get to the lungs, and so, besides brushing his teeth with an electric toothbrush, we also use a disposable oral swab dipped in a fluoride mouth rinse to swab his teeth. This swab has a little sponge at the end of a stick, and might be easier to insert into the mouth as he doesn't normally open his mouth wide. He also can't gargle properly now.

    As hubby is still eating solids in small bites, we also have to use interdental brushes to get rid of the food stuck between the teeth.

    Trust this helps.

  • I have some of those swabs, sent home with other opened packages of hygiene products left over from his respite stay. I will get some rinse and try them! Thanks!

  • Where do you get the oral swabs from?

  • We got ours from the pharmacy at the hospital but we're from a different part of the world, so don't know if you have them at your hospital pharmacies...?

  • Don't think we do. Will have a look online.

  • Saw Dentist and Hygienist over the last couple of days and have explained our predicament. They have suggested going easy on the cordysol dental gel (which it turns up they did sell), and use a diluted mouthwash (any will do, don't need a branded one) squirting 3ml into the mouth and if possible by the teeth, repeat if patient wants more. This will freshen mouth and help keep germs down. I was also told I would be able to get the swabs on a stick by prescription from the GP, that can be used to get some friction against the teeth to clean them a bit. I have to say I am very wary of the swabs for the reasons Amilazy mentioned.

  • Is that squinting the gel or mouth wash into the mouth? Thanks for the info. I asked our dentist for suggestions but he didn't have any!

  • Squirting some diluted mouthwash into the mouth. What I've been doing is putting the syringe inside the cheek and squirting, whilst moving the syringe from one side of cheek to other. G likes to have it twice so a total of 6ml of diluted mouthwash. Was told to dilute it as it will be too strong for her, doesn't matter if any is swallowed by accident

  • Thanks so much, going to start doing this. We've tried doing mouthwash the normal way but ends badly. I've not thought to dilute it but makes so much sense. Brain has no logic left I don't think!

  • Meant to say chemists will sell you a syringe if you tell them what it's for. Good luck!

  • Hi while in the nursing home the dentist prescribed (did know they could) some tooth cleaning gel which if applied to the front teeth somehow cleaned the rest of the teeth inside. M stopped opening her mouth voluntarily months ago and if it was open her bite reflex was strong enough to almost cut through the toothbrush, so the magic gel not only stopped the teeth and gums going off but also made her breath fresher.

    Caution with use of mouth swabs they can cause problems if detached. Our local DN and hospital have banned their use due to some bad accidents much to my sister-in-law's upset as she found them very good in the elderly Ward she works on.

    Good luck Tim

  • Hi Tim, don't suppose you can remember the name of the gel can you? I want to ring the dentist to ask them if they can prescribe it.


  • Sorry but the dentist should know as it is often prescribed for people who cannot open their mouths or have a bite issue. If not ask your DN they will know its name as used a lot for elderly patients.

    Good luck Tim

  • I have just spoken to the dental practice, the dentists who have been in practice for over 25 years have never heard of anything. Have moved our appointments to next week so I can discuss in detail. I'll also speak to the hygienist on Tuesday.

  • I have been in touch with M's nursing home and they say it was Cortisol dental gel, similar to the mouth wash. Dentist prescribed first then GP the continuing prescriptions. Hope this helps.


  • Tim, thank you so much, you shouldn't have gone to so much trouble. I do really appreciate your help.

    I will go to a pharmacy tomorrow to see if they have it, then tackle the dentist next week & the GP when I next see her.


  • I have a tube! Will be trying it out tonight, thanks again Tim and everyone for their suggestions

  • Hi gadget. I've just ordered a 3 headed toothbrush for hubby. Does top and both sides at the same time and an open wide rest to keep mouth open a bit. Recommended by a therapist. Going to give it a go anyway. A company called dentocare.co.uk.

    Also going to hospital this avo to gastroenterology dept to discuss possible peg and see if hubby actually wants one.

  • I was advised by the dentist to use 'Corsodyl' mouth wash in addition to doing the best one could with a brush. I ultimately had to use a syringe to get the liquid into the mouth, it certainly wasn't an easy job. It was one of the routines I took back from the carers - it only seemed fair, I thought if anyone was to get bitten it had better be me!!

  • Ben still managing to clean his teeth in a fashion but does tend to bite tight in his brush from time to time. Rinsing his mouth seems quite difficult for him. Reading all the comments with interest.

  • Hi, Not all mouthwashes are the same, the best I have found in UK is 'Listerine Total Care' which is mauve in colour and states it kills 99.9% of oral bacteria in lab tests (I have no shares nor interests in the Company!) I tend to dip the electric toothbrush head into the mouth wash and if my wife insists on clamping her teeth shut, at least I can do the front teeth and sides, also the mouthwash is doing its job partially even when she won't swill and spit. Personally I would not worry too much if the mouthwash is swallowed as the stomach acids will soon disperse any bacteria, what you don't want to happen is the oral bacteria going down the wrong chute (not the correct medical terminology) into the lungs. These ramblings are of course, in my opinion! All the best in finding a way that suits you both

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