Teeth cleaning

Hi all

Any tips on how to keep the teeth and mouth clean?

Cordsyl mouth gel has been mentioned a few times, has it been useful to anyone ?

Mum lips, tongue will not allow me to get to the gumline, keep pushing brush or fingers out of mouth and her whole mouth and jaw go tense. I've tried every thing I can think of , kids brush, electric tooth brush head, finger brush, flossing brush , finger.

Dentist can't do a check up as unable to transfer to couch and wasn't of any help when asked for tips.

Any advice gratefully received.

Love to all x

29 Replies

  • Oh dear! I found teeth cleaning was the most difficult thing to tackle. In the end I would do what I could when my husband was asleep with his mouth wide open. He soon woke up but would laugh and clamp his mouth shut again. It’s a natural reflex he seemed to have but did lose it later on so in the last year of his life I could clean them quite well with a child’s toothbrush. 3 years after diagnosis he indicated his tooth hurt him. I took him to the dentist but we couldn’t get his wheelchair into the building as the turning circle was too small. The dentist referred him to a hospital with facilities for disabled people (East Grinstead in our case) and I wheeled his wheelchair onto a platform. It was strapped down and the whole thing moved to the correct angle without me having to get him out of the chair. It was an awful experience though as he had to have a wisdom tooth removed. The dentist had to forcibly open his mouth and put a metal contraption in to keep it open. I was in tears as I stayed with him but couldn’t help him and it looked like torture. Once the tooth was removed and the gap healed he didn’t need any more treatment so I just carried on cleaning the best I could.

    Good luck.


  • Mum has dentures also and the one tooth that they clip onto is looking bad and the gums around it. Mum wouldn't agree to the hospital thing, I don't think I could cope with watching that. Well done on that!

    Her mouth is clamped shut when asleep so no chance then either lol.

    I asked SALT other day also for tips on how to keep tongue from pushing things out and lips going stiff as concrete and they had no advice other as said nothing really can help it.

    This is the one thing that we end up having battles over unfortunately and drives me the most potty!

    Thanks for reply xx

  • Also have problem with teeth cleaning. Absolute nightmare. Using a tiny baby's toothbrush with paste and children's mouth wash on the brush at the moment. Cannot bring myself to use the bits of foam on a stick as afraid it will lodge in the mouth and I won't be able to get it out. Yes, as I said absolute nightmare. Just another hurdle to jump. Love Jx

  • Yes I'm reluctant to use the foam sticks as liable to chase more damage with my clumsiness.

  • Have to admit I can be quite hamfisted when it comes to shaving. Love Jx

  • Yes it's getting harder to clean George's teeth he bites the brush. Xxxxx

  • Mum.does that too or my finger lol but more often for her tongue to push anything out of her mouth and her tongue and lips are mighty strong indeed. She doesn't have control over it and isn't aware that it is happening.

  • Once my wife opens her mouth I use a mouth wedge . She hates it but oral hygiene is important. The wedges came in various sizes from the web. After brushing sponge swabs help to clear her mouth if she will not rinse. It can be messy but I am her grumpy old git.

  • My father doesn't clamp his mouth shut yet but he does have trouble rinsing and spitting out after cleaning his teeth and makes a mess. He has several tooth implants and has suffered infections recently. My brother was showering him when he was in hospital and hit on the idea of cleaning his teeth whilst undressed and sitting in the wet room shower so that any spillages all get cleaned up by the shower. I think we will give Corodyl Gel a try, thanks for the reminder Spiralsparkle! JR61 x

  • Think I am going to get some too to try also.

  • Just 'Googled' it and they do a spray too, so that spitting out is not an issue! Failing that, others have recommended diluting mouthwash and using a small syringe (probably one of the ones used to give babies oral medicine would be OK) from the pharmacy. I will try anything to help dad avoid toothache on top of all his other problems. JR61 x

  • I've been doing the diluted mouthwash but Mums hates the taste so has been refusing it. I am going to Google now about the gel and spray. Thanks

  • My mum uses kids mouthwash (bubblegum flavor) and far prefers that over adult flavors.

  • This is a very difficult problem that I am sure many of us have. My husband can't part his teeth when I try to brush them and so his molars never get brushed. However, our dentist has prescribed Duophat toothpaste and he also suggested Corsodyl mouthwash which I apply with the cottonwool swabs that the dentist uses to absorb saliva. This has worked well so far. He also suggested getting my husband into dental hospital where they could apply a sedative so that his mouth would relax enough to give his teeth a thorough clean. If this happens I will let you know if it works.


  • We tried a couple of things. Small toothbrush or electric toothbrush with the smallest, softest toothbrush head available. Could only brush the outside, as hubby's jaws were clamped shut, and then used diluted mouthwash in a syringe to rinse. The other alternative was an 'aqua flosser', also with diluted mouthwash. And then a couple of times a week, I would use an interdental 'stick' (looks like a small round brush), to push it between each tooth and clear out any buildup. Luckily he never had any serious dental issues.

    Later on in the disease, it got really difficult to get him to tilt forward to spit out, or to let the water dribble out when I rinsed. So we brushed his teeth in the shower in the morning, where we could just rinse him off properly afterwards. And in the evening, I would push his chair to the front of the basin, then tie a plastic apron under his chin and around the top of this head, with the bottom of the apron angling down into the basin, so that the rinse water from the syringe could dribble out of his mouth onto the apron and from there into the basin. It wasn't pretty, but it worked :)

  • Mum won't let anyone else do her teeth and carers shower her. I have tried a water flosser but she didn't like it, too much water and pressure. I did try it in my own mouth and wasn't a fan either. I use the interdental stick to try to get down to her gumline to remove plaque. I did tell her yesterday that I was going to try when asleep as suggested on here, it did make her laugh.

  • Same issues here - dad is now clamping well and truly and it's impossible. He's now having trouble opening his mouth for drinks and food too. Says he wants it, but can't. Just when you think it can't get any worse..it does :-(

  • Big Hugs to you. It is just so cruel. xxx

  • Oral health appears to be such a battle for everyone. No likey :(

  • Sorry Spiral , I was going to suggest a baby toothbrush but clearly that isn’t the answer

    I do know sucking on pineapple is a good cleanser, tip from hospice

    How are you?


  • I remember now you saying about pineapple before.. Will try to remember. Not that I am capable of cutting up a pineapple!

    Plodding along here & exhausted. . You?

  • Exactly the same as you! In fact you took the words out of my mouth!! Plodding along and exhausted!! X

  • I am still able to brush my husband's teeth but he can no longer spit.

    I use a suction from hospice after brushing/rinsing.

  • That's good you have that equipment from hospice, hadn't thought about asking them for advice. Thanks

  • Hi SS , haven't been here in a few days but, With B, I used disposable sponges on a stick, the size of a lollypop they were easy to put in the mouth and clean the outer gums as much as possible . You can get them at medical supply stores in the US....

    Keep smiling,


  • Hi.

    Did the sponges ever come off the stick? I'm scared they might do.

  • The sponges never came off the stick, however I did not try to push it between his teeth if his jaw was clenched. Which, may I also encourage, that if you can only clean on the outside of the gums.....it's ok.....no forcing is necessary . I think that I let B rinse his mouth out and used a suction tube so that he did not aspirate....so if you have a suction machine you might want to use that along with brushing....You know brush and then suction....etc


  • Not needing a suction at the moment as Mum still managing to spit out in a fashion. Thanks for the tips.

    How are you?

  • Moment by moment ...but most moments are good.....

    I had a funny(?) thing happen at work....There was a young man (in his 20's ) yanking around his alzheimers -like father telling him "Not now, we are just using the bathroom hurry up" etc. Well my ears perked up ....a few minutes later boy is trying to escort dad out of the building but dad wanted something to eat. Like talking to a child the boy told him "don't do this to me , we have to go hurry up, now get in the car!" and now I am more than interested. But they left....I thought.....Now I see the boy coming back in and start yelling at these two Hispanics who were doing nothing but eating their lunch. the boy started accusing them of laughing at his dad etc....I dashed around the counter to situate that young man! I simply asked if his father would like a cup of water ..."NO but you better tell these damn Mexicans to shut up and not laugh at my dad ...." I said " I know sir I'm sorry " I took his elbow like an elderly one who needed escorting and asked again if his dad wouldn't like some water as I "helped" him out of the restaurant...He got one last shot in "Why don't you go back to your own country" as I closed the door with him on the other side of it! I ran up to the gentlemen eating and asked if they were ok and apologized and turned around to see all the managers like deer in the headlights just staring at me..."What was that about " "Oh just some white supremacist spoutin' off" I thought to myself , How did I just do that....and I am reminded of every 8 th grader who were too cocky for their britches that I had to correct....Teachers and police mantra, "diffuse and disperse..." hahaha

    Now again this is not so funny and in fact is very heart breaking that this older man is experiencing elder abuse and that this young 20 something is most likely having to be responsible for this disabled mans needs. He should out being and doing what 20 year olds do and not caretaking as his main premise in life....I could not change that; only try to make sure everyone was safe and comfortable in the restaurant....The funny part of this whole story is the reaction of all the managers looking somewhat befuddled.... haha

    One more little story...

    Most of my teaching career I did not get a flu shot. I didn't need it as most of the time the children were sent home....(I know germs are still there)... Now I know where the parents take their darlings when sent home from school....McDonalds! OMG! seriously the child has 102* fever 39C! Take them home!!! I have dealt with puking feverish children, parents not knowing how to give their kids meds and etc!!!

    After this experience in the first two weeks of Mcdonalds being the go to place for sick children, I went and got a flu shot!!! Unfortunatly it doesn't stave off Strep throat whcih several children had.....Oh lordy lordy...


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