My 81-year-old father refuses to let anyone brush his teeth, how can I get him to brush them so they stop falling out?

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He gets good nutritional meals and eats well. But his many strokes have left him mentally incapacitated with vascular dementia and brain damage. Because he doesn't understand a lot of what's going on, he refuses to let anyone brush his teeth. I'm there almost every day to help him with his lunch, so I'm fully aware of the quality care he's receiving. He's never had a problem with his teeth in the past. I've called his dentist and set up an apt but they can't get him in for over a month (they've got us on a waiting list for a possible cancellation). In the meantime, I'm in a panic as to why this is happening. Has anyone experienced this? The only medication he currently takes is Roxanol for pain. He was previously on a lot of other meds but taken off because he was refusing to take any of them. He was on Hospice for 16 months but has stabilized and improved so Hospice released him. He doesn't seem to be in any discomfort and still eats. But 4 teeth in a week?! Help!

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My mom has been losing teeth too but at a slower rate. She is in assisted living at almost 81 and has suffered from bipolar disorder for many years but got severe to the point of hospitalization and ECT just over 4 years ago. she sees doctors all the time but is otherwise quite health. Her blood tests are extraordinarily good for her age. We do not have any extra income and struggle to pay the bills. Is it okay to let this go? She is not in any pain from it and continues to eat quite well.
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Thanks for your suggestions. My Dad ended up having to have surgery. His teeth falling out prompted a visit to the dentist who discovered he had a tumor under his tongue and multiple other growths in his mouth. Fortunately everything was benign. But it did require hospitalization and a general anesthetic. They removed the growths and all the rest of the loose and rotting teeth. Dad has very few good teeth left but doesn't seem to have much of a problem eating (other than he can't take a bite from a dinner roll). Other than that, he's doing fine. And it's apparent now that those teeth must have been causing him a lot of pain and discomfort because he willingly brushes his own teeth now. In addition, he'd been on 4 doses of Roxanol per day for managing whatever pain he might have. They've now taken him off that and he only gets it prn. Dad is much more awake and not even needing his afternoon nap anymore. As much as I would like to get Dad's mouth back into shape with some bridges (I know he won't wear dentures), I don't believe that he'll be able to cooperate. He won't understand what's going on (by product of the brain damage from the strokes) The surgeon said that he's doing fine the way he is, so why bother putting him through anything else. Time will tell....
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I am reading about this and what I find is that Vitamin C deficiency could cause this problem (scarvy), along with "liver spots", pain and swelling in joints, bleeding gums, bleeding in other areas of the body including around the nails and under the skin, loose teeth, loss of teeth, depression, irritability, fatigue. They need to take a multivitamin with 100% of the daily body requirements or at least 1 or 2 glasses of orange or lime juice per day, even better if it is enriched with calcium and vitamin D.
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An update on my Dad's teeth that were falling out.....
I took him to see his dentist and while examining his mouth, he found a tumor on the underside of Dad's tongue. So I took him to see a specialist. We are going in for day surgery to have the tumor removed, the rest of his loose teeth removed and we also discovered another Squamish cell carcinoma on the base of his left ear. All of this will be taken care of at the same time. Then the dentist is going to build a bridge to replace the lost teeth. I think Dad's mouth will be in better shape than before. I worked it out with Medicaid on how to pay for his dental work so I have that taken care of too. There definitely was a silver lining to this cloud. If his teeth hadn't fallen out, we wouldn't have discovered the tumor! Thanks to everyone who offered advice and support! Karen
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Just a factoid from my own experience.....I've had injuries to my teeth playing sports in the past, but no problems, yet! The Dentist said that chances were high that in the future my teeth would eventually die from trauma received many years ago.
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I'd like to mention that mention that my mom is MUCH healthier since I took her back home from a facility. I, with her doctor's assistance, got her off of TRACADONE (bad stuff) and a variety of other unnecessary drugs,and she is much more steady, clear-minded and happy than she was when she lived away. Yes, It's been harder on me, but.....
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My Dad did have problems with constipation because he was confined to a wheelchair or his bed. However, after he was released from Hospice, I was able to request physical therapy to get him up and walking (with the use of a walker and several staff members) which has helped him be much more regular with his bowel movements. This has been better for him since about February. But I will check with the medical staff and ask them about this. Thanks!
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This may sound gross but, has he had any bowel problems? EXample, not going regularly, difficulty having a movement or loose watery stools? I don't want to scare you but it could be a serious medical problem. Get his medical Dr. to check him if he's had any bowel problems. My brother in law was only 57 when he complained that he had lost 4 teeth the week before Christmas and had another 1 loose. Within 2 months he got very sick it turned out to be a ruptured colon. The Dr. said it had been blocked so long that caused it to rupture, they had to remove over half of it he then had to have a bag, I'm not sure what they call it But the blocked colon caused other problems that caused the teeth to come out. He was not able to return to work, He died July 6th.
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Mom always took great care of her teeth but at 86 and the 5 years in the nursing home, she started losing teeth also. The lack of whole, fresh foods is deplorable in these places, everything is nutrition-depleted. I bring her fresh fruit/food that she can handle (berries, peaches, cantelope, fresh chowder, shrimp cocktail, e.g,) whenever I visit. But she's been confined to bed the past year so "real" grooming has fallen appreciatively. Have to continually keep on top of the staff to ensure this is being done, on all shifts. Being confined to bed/reclining wheelchair, she can no longer transfer to a dentist chair so we use the nursing home's contracted dentist who cares for inhouse patients. As Ted suggested above, check with your Dad's facility about their dentist seeing him on an emergency basis, and checking for periodontal disease. Mom's top teeth started gettign so lose that she cd not eat without fear of losing/swallowing them in her food. Her bottom teeth are now doing same. We finally decided to have the dentist remove the uppers and make dentures. That was a very hard decision, yet another loss to her dignity, but made with her safety in mind. The process was painless for her, which shocked us but eased the guilt. She hardly ever eats with them as she doesn't like them, and with dementia, she forgets she has them. THey keep them at the nursing station so they don't get lost (she takes them out and they end up in the sheets/dirty laundry, on the floor under the bed, on the meal tray cart, etc.), and bring them back and forth for meals. When we're there, we keep them in so she feels better, and she hates pics of herself without them! She also has diabetes, high BP, and major bone loss everywhere in her body, which also affects tooth health. Not to mention all the meds that can contribute to periodontal disease. Good luck!
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I've talked with the nursing staff and they're just as surprised as I am. I asked about a dentist who makes on-site visits and they say he was just there the week before and only comes about once a month. (sigh) Dad doesn't have any indication that he's fallen or hit his mouth or jaw. The teeth were getting discolored and now have fallen out. For whatever reason, I feel that each one of them 'died'. I just want to do whatever is possible to prevent any more of them to fall out.
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