How to brush dementia person's teeth?

Travis95

Registered User
Aug 1, 2019
42
0
Hey everyone, im sorry for the delayed reply. I was working long hours over the week.

Have you tried a water pick? It wouldn’t be the same as brushing but if she tolerates it, it is better than nothing.
Is this like a mini waterjet that shoots water into her mouth?
I don't think she will tolerate it. We are struggling to even make her open her mouth.

I know this is off on a slight tangent (apologies @Travis95) but my mum has dentures, but now quite often (never done this before) gets toothpaste on her finger and rubs her teeth with that. This is usually a cue for me to ask if she wants to remove them so I can clean.

One other thought, to get a PWD to clean their teeth every single day may be a bit optimistic.
Is PWD something like a caretaker?
we actually brought in a caretaker recently. However even the caretaker herself is struggling to do it. We have to step in to figure out a way.

Hello @Travis95 Has your mom been seen by a dentist recently? If she doesn't want anyone to touch her mouth it may because she is in pain or discomfort from her teeth or gums, or possibly has oral thrush, so a dental check up might be helpful. I think from your previous posts your mom lives in Malaysia? In the UK we have what is called a community dentist service for people with special needs like advanced dementia but your mom's doctor should hopefully be able to advise the process for getting your mom's mouth checked by a dentist in her area.
Hello Louise, yes we are based in Malaysia. (The reason I'm in this forum because I used to live in England, and started all the caretaking research while I was there.) I can try asking around for a specialist dentist like that. However I think the challenge will still to get my mom to corporate. She recently had a fall, the optometrist can't check her eyes properly because she refuses to corperate.

Though coming back, no she did not visit a dentist, neither we think she has pain in her mouth. I'll explain more at the end of my post.

You can ask your mum's dentist for a prescription for the stronger fluoride toothpaste which @nitram used.
I think I can try that, but this is with the assumption that leaving the toothpaste around her gum is sufficient.



So back to everyone,
Over the week we have mixed luck trying to brush her teeth.
-One of the ways that we see some success is to prompt her when she isn't sleepy; or
-We brush our teeth beside her, and hopefully she follows.
-Another way I tend to do sometimes, is to "forcefully" brush it for her. She rejects it generally, but I'd try to hold her and do as much as I can. Although not perfect, its still better than not doing anything.

Even we have done these, it is only luck. I always tell everyone, with dementia caretaking, whatever works today might not work tomorrow. We will have a new challenge every week.
I am continuing the discussion here to think about what should I do, if the above 3 methods never work anymore.
 

Travis95

Registered User
Aug 1, 2019
42
0
PWD is Person With Dementia
I see.
I think I agree getting a PWD to brush her teeth everyday does sound optimistic at this point.
She used to obey. Only in the last few weeks, brushing her teeth becomes a daily challenge
 

Bevvywevvy

Registered User
Nov 22, 2023
42
0
It was suggested to me to use a three way toothbrush, which we have tried with some success. Not every day though! Also high fluoride toothpaste was prescribed. Thank you for the finger protector and putting on gums idea. We'll try that.
 

silkiest

Registered User
Feb 9, 2017
861
0
Hi @Travis95 , even if you can’t clean her teeth there’s some things that may help a little. Try to finish meals with water to reduce the amount of sugar or acid in the mouth to help prevent placque and damage. If your mum is safe to chew gum then sugar free gum after meals will also help to clean the teeth.
our local cinema has a vending machine that sells chewable toothbrushes, would something like that be safe for her?
 

Kevinl

Registered User
Aug 24, 2013
5,699
0
Salford
Get an electric toothbrush, I bought 2 so we could brush our teeth together, gave her a bit of a hand with it, but like I did with most things, but when you're doing it together rather than you doing it to them seemed to work for me.
K
 

Travis95

Registered User
Aug 1, 2019
42
0
hey everyone, thanks for the replies after a few months.
Just an update, we now have a caretaker for her.
I am trusting the caretaker for most of the caretaking. I think she has some success brushing her teeth in most mornings, though most of the time she is the one brushing for mom, not mom doing it volunteeringly.

I guess you can call it "half-forced", because we have to hold her hands so she couldnt resist, on the flipside she opens her mouth for us to do it. Maybe she knows we are brushing her teeth, but not too comfortable with it.

An additional observation is that, in the first few minutes of the process, she doesnt resist at all. It is only in the middle of the process she starts resisting. I am guessing is it because she doesn't like the minty taste of toothpaste (Colgate we use).