Mom’s electric toothbrush arrived. I opened the package yesterday, and a sad series of thoughts ran through my head. They went something like this:

  • I (or perhaps someone else) introduces mom to the toothbrush she has reasons for not wanting to use. 
    • You have to constantly plug it in. 
    • If its battery runs out what’s the point of having an electric toothbrush?
    • It’ll clutter up the counter.
    • She was offended when the dentist suggested that as we age we don’t brush as well and this device can help. But she doesn’t remember that any more.
  • We just replace the new with the old, sneakily.
  • She pitches a fit with staff over the sudden appearance/lose of the toothbrushes.
  • Even with this simple one button unit, she won’t be able to learn to use it, nor will she allow staff to help her. 
  • There is little that’s going effect this situation. Not:
    • Root planing,
    • A simple electric toothbrush, or
    • Staff’s help, because my mother would be too offended to consider that she might need some coaching.
  • More frequent cleanings are the only thing in the toolkit, however, it doesn’t feel like enough. 
  • Is this the beginning of the downward spiral toward the inevitable outcomes of poor dental care, like heart disease? 
Were my mother a different personality (or not afflicted with dementia), like the sweet Lily of the Skilled Nursing Facility, NONE of this would have zipped through my head. It would have ended with, “Ohhhhh, Thank you, Sweetheart! You’re so kind to think of bringing me a new toothbrush!” 

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