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Mouthcare: glycerin and lemon mouthsticks

Geriatric   (2,482 Views 10 Comments)
by kay274 kay274 (New Member) New Member

527 Visitors; 3 Posts

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In 1988 a colleague and I conducted a small research study on the use of glycerin and lemon mouthsticks. These were used for poorly and dying people. We noticed that these people were developing sores and blisters on the lips and mucosa in the mouth. The glyerin part gave the appearance of a moistened mouth, but lips were just made greasy. Like a sweety whose catch phrase was 'made to make your mouth water' the lemon part certainly did this, to the point that the salivary glands were exhausted. They were 'banned' at our local hospital and mouthcare practice changed to water/fresh pineapple juice applied with a baby soft toothbrush and lip salve for the lips.

Working in education and development I spied a box in a retirement home, being ordered and used for a resident at the end of life. I was called to look at her very saw mouth, lo and behold....why are these things back!!!

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aeris99 works as a new grad.

6,882 Visitors; 490 Posts

We had them at our facility when I worked as an LNA. Most often we used mouthwash cut with water and lip balm instead.

I can't recall seeing sores on those who had the lemon swabs though. That is something I'll keep an eye out for when I'm back on the floor.

How long/often were they used?

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5,494 Visitors; 479 Posts

I've even seen these at the hospitals when I did clinicals last year! and OK, am I the only that has tried the mint swabs, just to see what they tasted like? LOL

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527 Visitors; 3 Posts

Small correction: sore mouth, sorry. Thanks for comments. More research needs to be done on a much larger scale. My colleague is rooting out the article from way back when to look at the size of the sample etc. I have emailed the company making/distributing the product.

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12,887 Visitors; 905 Posts

I've never seen sores with them, but I like the idea of the pineapple juice!

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misstrinad has 1+ years experience and works as a RN.

1,725 Visitors; 84 Posts

We use them at my ltc facility. I have used them on many pts during end of life care and can't say I've ever seen sores. I do alternate them with plain swabs with mouthwash diluted in water and we have a mouth moisturizer paste I use a lot of as well in those situations. I will mention it to my infection control nurse and manager.

If you can find the study it would be greatly appreciated.

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Carpediem1012 has 1 years experience and works as a Registered Nurse.

7,769 Visitors; 315 Posts

We had to try them in lab- they are gross!! Made me gag lol. We have them in the hospital too. I couldn't use them on my patients. Yuck! Super soft toothbrush and even plain old water is better. Actually anything would be better lol!

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and works as a Retired/Disabled Nurse and Blogger.

335 Likes; 8 Followers; 141 Articles; 247,025 Visitors; 9,526 Posts

I had to use them once when I was in the hospital, and they were awful---they actually made my mouth more dry. The "toothettes" dunked in cool water were much more refreshing to me. So whenever I had a choice, I used those for oral care on my patients rather than the lemon/glycerine swabs, unless of course the patient preferred the latter.

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rnforforty has 41 years experience.

1,871 Visitors; 74 Posts

We stopped using them years ago. Too drying. Better off using the toothette swab with water and some lip moisture stick like those made by Aquafina - yes, the purified water people. I buy them at the Dollar Stores.

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1 Like; 1 Follower; 36,037 Visitors; 2,074 Posts

I recommend swabbing the mouth with water and a non-alcohol based mouthwash followed by nonpetroleum moisturizers on the lips. If the mouth is too dry the families may use a small amount of cooking oil (I like Olive oil) to preserve the moisture on the oral mucosa.

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