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Thread: Mouth hygiene (howzat for a must-read topic?!)

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    Mouth hygiene (howzat for a must-read topic?!)

    Happy Boxing Day all

    Iíve been finding cleaning my teethe harder and harder of late, especially since I struggle to open my mouth wide enough when standing as my head droops forward. I can do my front teeth ok but getting behind them is really tricky. As is spitting out - I can only really dribble. And Iím not sure if itís related but my left jaw is really sore of late and I can barely open my mouth at all, even when seated.

    Has anyone else experienced difficulty cleaning their teethe & if so have you found a solution? Iím wondering about mouthwash, even though I know itís not really a substitute for brushing.

    Sorry, not a particularly savoury topic. I hope youíve all day a good Christmas. Iíve done my best to be cheerful & thankful that Iím here to enjoy it at all, but must admit grumpiness has taken over from time to time!

    With love
    Sarah

  2. #2
    Forum Member Lynne K's Avatar
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    Sarah, there's a device that you can get from your dentist for cleaning between teeth. It's a jet of water. This is in place of interdental brushes. They might be able to recommend a chewing gum for cleaning your teeth. I don't have this problem yet but have been thinking about you. Also, do you have a neck brace for holding your head up? If not then speak with your OT about that. Good luck, Lynne x
    ALS diagnosed November 2017, limb onset. For the 4 yrs previously I was losing my ballance.
    I'm staying positive and taking each day as it comes.

  3. #3
    Forum Member Kayleigh's Avatar
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    Hello Sarah

    Thank you for raising the important issue of mouth hygiene. I was wondering how I might manage now that my arms and hands are getting weaker and found a useful information sheet on the MNDA's website (which I found a link to on the Personal Care webpage).

    Personal Care

    http://https://www.mndassociation.org/support-and-information/living-with-mnd/personal-care/

    Information sheet 11b about mouth care

    http://https://static.mndassociation.org/app/uploads/2019/01/18123104/11B-Mouth-care.pdf

    Love
    Kayleigh x

  4. #4
    Forum Member Ellie's Avatar
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    Hi Sarah,

    It’s important to try and maintain good oral hygiene as bacteria can not only cause infection in the mouth, but in other parts of the body too. I don’t think even a thorough swish with mouthwash would be as effective as brushing. You should ask your dentist about mouthwashes which aren’t the ‘big brand’ types, they might do a better job.

    It does tend to be easier to brush teeth if sitting down and with head forward and don’t think you need to be at a sink - a basin or towel on your lap often suffices. And some people find using a soft toothbrush, often with a long, thick, grippy handle, works well with an SLS-free (nonfoaming) flouride toothpaste (I use Sensodyne Daily Care but there are many others)

    Of course, if your mouth is clamped shut, getting any brush into it is hard - do you take antispasmodic meds? I wonder if a gentle massage or a warmed heat pack a few minutes before brushing would help relax the muscles? And take your time getting the brush into your mouth!

    I can’t brush my own teeth, so someone uses an electric brush on my teeth. I rinse first with water from a medicine cup, then with mouthwash from the same little 20ml cup - it works well because it’s small and I won’t get a mouthful of glass if I were to bite into it, which can happen! I can’t spit either, just a measly dribble, but I manage to clear most of the toothpaste as it doesn’t produce foam. Sipping water through a straw might be an option too, but not recommended for minty mouthwash as it can go against your breath. Another 'rinse' option is to dip one of pink mouth swabs into mouthwash but, if you're at risk of biting down, don't use one!

    If anyone has even a hint of an issue with their swallow, jets of squirting water into the mouth could spell disaster - be careful! Dentists should be told if there is a swallowing problem, so they limit use of water and suction t immediately, or don’t use it at all.

    And, having seen many non-MND people over the last week, I can tell you that grumpiness is most definitely universal

    All the best.

    Love Ellie.
    ​Diagnosed 03/2007. Sporadic Definite ALS/MND Limb Onset.
    Eye gaze user - No working limbs - No speech - Feeding tube - Overnight NIV.

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    Thank you for this thread, My Dentist and speech and language therapist suggested to keep persevering and get and use baby tooth brush (itís the smallest available) and you donít have to do the whole mouth on one go, mouthwash they advised to buy a soft toothbrush and dip into some mouth wash and apply the to the gums and cheeks, doing my mouth wash like that is so much easier Wohoo

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    Forum Member Lynne K's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info Ellie. Something to remember for the future. Lynne
    ALS diagnosed November 2017, limb onset. For the 4 yrs previously I was losing my ballance.
    I'm staying positive and taking each day as it comes.

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    Hi Sarah,
    I have the same problem, my husband bought me some baby finger toothbrushes, and you put it on your finger. Works quite well. You can get them from Amazon. I have trouble with one back tooth and can't spit either.
    Love Sheila

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    Thanks all for the many excellent suggestions. I've just invested in a baby bathing bowl, baby toothbrush and non-foaming toothpaste and will see how i get on cleaning my teeth - as well as my daily morning wash - sitting down at my bed using those. i'm fed up with having toothpaste dribbles down my nightshirt! I saw some finger brushes on amazon and was tempted, but also worried i'll bite down on them! I think my mouth is just clamped shut because my head is bent forward and i've noticed i'm clenching my teeth too so consciously trying not to now. I will speak to my speech and language therapist. As for my dentist - i'll need to reacquaint myself as it's been a while....eek!!

    Thanks again all, this is the best place for good advice!

    Sarah xx

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    I think I will try and do that, sit in my bed for morning wash and teeth. There are ways of getting around these problems, it's just trial and error.
    Sheila x

  10. #10
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    I am conscious that my gums are not in good shape. But because of my bulbar palsy, I cannot use mouth wash.

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