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Hi, I have my husband back on a schedule of brushing 2x a day. The problem is he doesn’t distinguish between eating and brushing. The whole time the toothbrush is in, he’s sucking on it and trying to bite it. Out of fear of poisoning him, I only put a tiny sliver of paste on the brush. In the last week, he has only successfully spit out once, and it was because he started coughing. Otherwise, he swallows it. He does have swallowing issues, and I’ve been thickening his drinks... but not the water to swish in his mouth, if only he’d swish and spit! Any tips?

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Toms Natural Toothpaste (Strawberry) for children is what I use for mom.  It's in the toothpaste aisle on the side where the children's stuff is.  I believe they have fluoride and non-fluoride.
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Reply to Jessica40
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Purchase children's' toothpaste so he does not consume the fluoride. Consult with the his dentist on cleaning tools instead of a toothbrush. Try to do the brushing for him instead by trying to coach him to open mouth. Nurses in facilities usually brush the teeth for those with advanced dementia.
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Reply to SeniorsHelp
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If it’s an expense you can afford, I’d buy an electric toothbrush, and it will also massage the gums. You can just hold the brush for your husband, and just guide it along the teeth & gums. It basically does the work, and your just holding onto it. I personally use a tea tree oil & neem toothpaste by desert essence it’s fluoride free, and Cleans great, and doesn’t get all foamy and expand like some of the common brands. Usually able to find it in bigger health food stores or online.
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Reply to Getkicksonrte66
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Thanks for your ideas, everyone!

I’m brushing his teeth for him at this point. I try to model the spitting and give him vocal clues what he should be doing, but he’s only spit out twice in the last two weeks. I’ll look into other toothpastes or ask the pharmacist for ideas!
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Reply to JuliaRose
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Is he brushing alone? If you are both brushing your teeth you can model.the process & he can copy. Just use the smallest amount of toothpaste you can & model the spitting out part too. Also ask your dentist or pharmacist for ideas - eg there are gels that can be applied & left on instead.

It may even be time to consider moving from supervising to hand-over-hand helping him to do it?
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Reply to Beatty
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In terms of the toothpaste eating, you can use plain baking soda instead of toothpaste. When I first learned preventive dentiistry many years ago, that's what the dentist/hygienist taught us to do. I think that's no longer recommended for the long term because of the abraisiveness of baking soda, but it doesn't cause problems if it's swallowed. Baking soda alsodoesn't taste good, so possibly he might stop sucking the toothbrush, also.
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Reply to caroli1
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CWillie
I am going to quote the warning from a tube of toothpaste I am currently using.
"If more than is used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or call a poison control center right away."

This is not on all brands. Other than that I agree with everything else said here.
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Reply to OldSailor
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cwillie Feb 16, 2020
I'll direct you to this 1998 article from the New York times back when those warnings were new (but this is far from my only source)
https://www.nytimes.com/1998/03/24/us/toothpaste-a-hazard-just-ask-the-fda.html

BTW, Canadian toothpaste doesn't have any warnings, at least none that I've ever seem.
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I agree, use a good organic kid's toothpaste or you can order mild mints that freshen without being harsh. I recommend NOW Xyli-white mint. It is around 3 dollars a tube at Swanson vitamins and it is really mild. No fluoride or detergent chemicals either. Best toothpaste I have ever used.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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JuliaRose, I agree with what cwillie had posted. I do suggest that you might want to switch over to a kid's toothpaste as that might be better as kids tend to swallow toothpaste. And one doesn't need to put an one inch amount on the toothbrush, half is good enough.

Would suggest looking for an organic toothpaste as it doesn't mess with one's taste buds like regular toothpaste does. I was quite surprised the first week I use organic, such as Burt's Bees, and found food started to taste sooo much better. I tried the old toothpaste one time after that and the taste was so sweet I couldn't get that taste out of my mouth.
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Reply to freqflyer
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I know people freak out about swallowing toothpaste but it really isn't an issue you need to be concerned with, he would have to eat the whole tube at once to cause any problems and the worst that would happen then would be an upset stomach, at his stage of life you don't need to care about long term effects.
Unfortunately I haven't any tips on how to make it easier.
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Reply to cwillie
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