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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.

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Thank you Braida. I'm happy to have shared that info. May I also tell you to never forget to give your Mother a hug or a kiss and tell her that you love her. Everyday and every night. We simply don't know how long we will have them in our lives. I'm so sorry about your Aunt and God bless.
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Oops. I accidentally pressed the wrong thing, and I wasn't done. :) Anyway, I will possibly use the swish and spit method too. (I'll look that up for further info about it.) I will no doubt save pain and misery down the road w/ this good info from you, because I don't think the Drs. tell us so many things that they should. So thank you, Hispagirl. And know you are not alone in thinking that you should have done more....but we must realise that we did the best we could at the time. We really did!! Blessings and peace to you!
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Hispagirl, I know exactly what you mean by "hinsight," and the sadness we can experience from not knowing ahead of time. This happened to me in the recent death of my dear Aunt (right before Christmas, as well) and the things I wished I would've known and done. It's such a hard lesson when it's too late to help the ones we loved and cared about so very much. But, we just can't beat ourselves up about it, and dwell on it. (easier said than done.) I wake up in the middle of the night, and start thinking about things. Why didn't I do this? Why didn't I take that action? I could've made things so much better if I had known this or that!!! But I didn't, at the time. It makes me unbelievably sad, too. But the thing is....we did the best we could do at the time. We were THERE for our Mom and Aunt. We showed them love and they knew it. And what we can do now (as you have kindly done w/ your valuable info about thrush) is to let others know about our experience so that it may help them w/ their loved ones. You just helped me so much, as I am caring for my 87 year old Mother, who tells me she has brushed her teeth, but when I check her toothbrush, it is dry. I will make very sure about this dental hygiene now, and use the probiotic, and possibly the
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Thank you all for your comments and thoughts. Take care of yourselves so you can be there for your loved ones. They know how much you do for them. And you are absolutely right, Reverseroles, regarding beating myself up. I do this a lot, I need to simply accept that she's no longer suffering and the decision for her to go was not something because of I did or didn't do, but simply because it was her time. Thank you again for reminding me, I sometimes forget and it breaks my heart. I do miss her smile and her voice, but everything else is within me and I take it everywhere. Have a good weekend all and Bless you all.
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Hispagirl, My mom also is experiencing dementia because of strokes. At least the nursing home is now keeping her on the thrush mouthwash. I'm hoping once she gets through the thrush, not eating and UTI that her dementia will improve a little. She has good days & bad. It is amazing what doctors & nursing homes don't know. Thanks for your thoughts too.
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Hispagirl, thanks for your comments too. You need to stop thinking "what if" or "I shoulda" because you did everything right. Someone above wrote a depressed immune system can cause it and you had no control regardless. I read your profile and you took your Mom home , thats the ultimate sacrafice and you should hold your head up and feel proud! If your Mom was sleeping alot, the end was coming no matter what she had and you were there for her, dont we all want that? Bless you!
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Another tip about thrush. My mom wears partials and some nights just refuses to let me take them out to soak overnight. My dentist says it is very important to take partials and dentures out each night. If not, this will increase the chances of getting thrush.
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Mick, I'm sorry that your Mother is going through this. It is very unpleasant and painful. I truly believe that this contribute a lot to her last few days here because she couldn't eat or drink. One of the Hospice nurses that was here told me that any antibiotic causes yeast and that thrush is a cause of too much yeast. In the case of my Mother, her Hospice doctor said she had a throat infection without really doing any culture so he prescribed an antibiotic which I believe was the cause of more thrush she had to endure. I really can't pin point the reason for the thrush, but what I do know is that Oral Hygiene is extremely important to TRY and prevent thrush. Nothing is a 100% for sure, but I now know that I might have been able to prevent it had I known and this is the only reason why I share my experience. Is your Mother suffering from other ailments as well? My heart goes out to all of you. No matter how prepare one is for a loved ones departure, it is never easy and the grieving process doesn't stop anytime soon. It hasn't even been a month and I miss my Mom so much and I truly want her back. I know, not possible. But I can't stop thinking about her and wishing she was here. Sorry, I went off the track of what I was saying. Please remember oral hygiene. Good luck everyone and God bless.
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I'm sorry about your mother too. I am now so worried about mine.
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I should also say that the ER said the antibiotic she used for a UTI caused it..
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Interesting. My mom ended up in the ER last week because she wasn't eating. The ER said she had thrush. The nursing home had brushed her white tongue off as nothing & even now seem to think it wasn't serious. They are taking her off the medicine after 3 days. I'm calling an ENT to get her rechecked tomorrow. Her tongue is still red.
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Jola and Reverseroles: thank you for your comments and responses. As I mentioned I don't know if this will prevent thrush, but it will certainly help. I know it can be frustrating, but I know if you do this, it will be just one more thing that you did as best as you could. I just know I wish I'd had know this beforehand. Whether or not this would have given her less pain or giving her more time with me it's hard to say. But I do hope that it helps you both.

Good luck and be patient, they know how much you do for them even if sometimes they don't often say it or show it. This I am sure of. God Bless.
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hispagirl, I am sorry to hear about your Mom and I thank you for this post. This is good timing for me. My Mom has dentures and I puree her food. Mom chews and chews and chews, she started this last week. She chews with and without good in her mouth and I cannot tell if she has swallowed her food. I put on a glove and dipped my fingers in scope and water and ran them along her gums after I took out her teeth, nothing was there. Tonight I didnt do it, she was chewing in her sleep and I pry her mouth open to see a bit of food still there, its driving me insane, takes me over 2 hours to feed her each meal. Because of your post I will make sure I clean her nightly and that her drink comes last. I do give her a full container of yogurt daily so I hope that helps too. Thank you!
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Thank you for this post, hispagirl. My dad was recently hospitalized with shingles and developed thrush while there, which cleared up well with swish-and-swallow treatment. Since coming home he has been using a dentist-prescribed mouthwash and brushing his tongue with a tongue brush now and then.

Ditto treatmenttime's comment about your generosity in sharing this as you grieve for your dear mother. Take care.
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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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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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