One important lesson I learned while caring for my dear Mother. This is for all caregivers.

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As some of you know, my Mother passed on 12/27/12. But this is not about that, I want to make sure that all "caregivers" on this forum know this as many nurses or Hospice care companies neglect to let caregivers know that oral hygiene is very important.

My Mother wore dentures when she was well; but once she got ill, she hated them and did no longer use them. I pureed her food to make it that much easier to swallow and made sure she drank enough liquids. For some odd reason she got into drinking a lot of juice. And part of her treatment was to inhale solutions like Spiriva, Simbycort and Pro Air. Only after 3 weeks she started getting sores in her mouth, on the sides and under her tongue (Thrush). Because of this, she could no longer eat or even swallow water. It was very hard on her. The hospice doctor came over and gave her antibiotic and some "swish and spit" medicine.

Thrush is a yeast infection, antibiotic creates yeast. Now, don't you think the doctor should have known this. The worse part is that this might have been prevented with a simple suggestion from the nurses/doctor at the very beginning of her sickness. Oral hygiene. Even if she doesn't have dentures or eats very little or drinks and citric juice (like Orange juice); make sure she washes and gurgles after each time she eats and drinks.

This is very important! I don't know if my Mother would not have gone as fast as she did because of this, but I do know that her last week was horrible for her and for her family to see because it is so painful and there's nothing one can do once it starts. So please, make sure you help your loved one by making sure she/he washes and gurgles after any medicine, drink or food intake.


Something else that can help with thrush is yogurt. It is also good for unsettled stomachs. My mother won't eat yogurt, but my father loved it. I've heard the plain yogurt is the best, but many people don't like plain yogurt. My father liked vanilla or strawberry. They agreed with him when his stomach didn't feel so good.
Jessie, I've heard pros and cons about yogurt. Some studies say that yogurt causes yeast and others say it helps to prevent it. Either way, in my own experience, I think the best way to try and avoid this thrush thing is oral hygiene. I only wanted to share this because I didn't know and if I could help someone else from going through this, then this is the best forum for me to share.
hispagirl, thrush is often common in people with suppressed immunity, even when they take good care of their mouths. We used to have several people with HIV who would get thrush. There are medications to help cure it. Some people with suppressed immunity take medications, e.g. diflucan, as a preventative drug, since fungi can be such a problem for these people. I don't know if I would recommend the drug for long-term use in elderly people, because from what I've heard it can be hard on the liver. I am not sure about this, though, since we often hear things that aren't true.
Sometimes yogurt does not work as well due to the sugar that is added to sweeten it. The best probiotic IMO are the ones sold at the health food store in capsule form. I open the capsule and add the powder to my mom's meals. I would also assume that if there are mouth sores, there might also be bacteria present and the best natural antibiotic to use IMO is coloidal silver (Sovereign Silver comes in a spray) that you can spray into the mouth. I know that colloidal silver works for bacteria induced mouth sores because my cat had stomatitis (mouth sores caused by bacteria) and could not eat because it was so painful and since the prescribed antibiotics were harmful to her and were not working (the sores returned) I bought a Sovereign Silver spray and began spraying it into her mouth daily and now she is eating and eating and eating. So bottom line for humans ---use a good probiotic AND always keep colloidal silver on hand anytime there is a need to use an antibiotic to kill off any harmful bacteria.
Hispagirl, I'm sorry about your mother passing away. Thanks for letting us know about Thrush. I think I read that word once here on AC but didn't understand what it was. Now, you have me thinking about father. He doesn't brush his teeth, nor does he take his probiotic (I keep buying it, and it sits wasting, then I go buy again) or the yogurt that I do buy. So, I stopped buying yogurt. Back to buying it again. Thank you..Sincerely, book
Hispagirl, I'm so sorry about your mother. Thank you for seeing past your grief to help others. I will certainly take your advice! Bless you.
I'm so glad I can help. Even if thrush is something that happens a lot, I still believe we can learn from each other. I often feel guilty for not doing a better job at helping her with oral hygiene, so it also helps to know that this has something to do with low immune system (which she had). It might have happened either way, but in hind sight I would have loved to at least know I tried to prevent it. So please no matter what you do help them or remind them of their oral hygiene. Thank you.
Sorry for your loss, hispagirl. Blessings to you and yours. And thanks for the heads up about thrush. My Mom wears dentures and , though very good at cleaning them now, I can see where in the future this could be a problem. You may have saved us considerable problems by posting your info. A big thank-you!
Thank you so much for sharing this with us, it is so generous of you to let others' know about dangers while you are grieving your Mom. From the time I was a child my parents told me why it is important to "brush" a toothless person's gums, no matter what their age and I just said "yeah, yeah, whatever". Thrush is an imbalance of the yeast in our bodies, which is why when women take antibiotics....well, you know what happens to some of us. When MIL was in hospital and "tubed" her oral care was not priority at the time and she got Thrush. When antibiotics were prescribed I asked about it and was told that it was very important to prevent the sores in her mouth from becoming infected and that something else was given to treat Thrush (swish and spit, except nurses wiped it on her gums with washcloth). Maybe that was your mom's case? Another concern regarding oral care is mouth plaque, microscopic plaque going to the arteries in the heart through sores in the mouth and gathering.
I know this won't help but please don't second guess your care for her or blame yourself, it sounds like you loved and cared for her beautifully, Bless you.
Thank you Mishka.
At treatmentime: Yes the swish and spit was done by the nurse as you could imagine she was not able to do it on her own. I did have a nurse though that would put her finger and force our some of the stuff out. It was painful to hear my Mother's cry, but the nurse assured me that at the end it would be best for her even if the sores did bleed a little. In hindsight I'm not sure if I would have done anything different, but maybe instead of walking away to not hear her cry, hold her hand instead and assured her that it was best for her. Now, that i think of this, it makes me very sad. If only one could act in hindsight, things would be much better.

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