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Thread: Making your own Mouthstick?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Katilea's Avatar
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    Smile Making your own Mouthstick?

    Has anyone made their own mouth stick and if so how did you do it?

    I have a friend in South Africa who really struggles with using her hands, they dont have the money or resources to buy specialised equipment and I just wondered after seeing the pointing sticks that some people had made for holding in hands, if anyone had managed to make their own mouthstick?

    Any ideas how they would go about it using stuff you would normally find about the house?

    Thanks

    Kati

  2. #2
    You can damage your teeth using the wrong materials. Her dentist may be able to help. These mouthsticks, which are actually made in Mexico, are not that expensive. She may want to check into them (they do not need to be custom made): http://mouthstick.net/index.htm

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    Senior Member Katilea's Avatar
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    They cant afford that it may only say $178.50 for one but thats £119.94 in uk money and in SA Rand is 1,614.69 ZAR according to the online currency convertor.

    I'd struggle to afford one of those for myself and still have enough money to pay bills, they get even less money I think its something ridiculous like the equivalent of about £45 a month.

    They are really bad off financially with retired parents and an older brother also in wheelchair from same condition.

    What materials would be safe to put in mouth without damaging teeth?

    I've tried to find funding options for them in SA but they all seem to apply to people who can work and neither my friend or her brother could. They both have Friedrichs Ataxia from childhood now in their 30's are both severely disabled.

    Any advice appreciated.

  4. #4
    Something could probably be made with plain wooden dowling rods that can be purchased fairly cheaply at hardware stores. They come in different diameters and weights and can also be cut down to the appropriate length.

    Finding something to use as the stick part shouldn't be that hard but as KLD mentioned the concern is what is being used to hold the stick in the mouth. It is very easy to damage the teeth and gums as well as the soft tissue lining the cheeks, so some thought needs to be put into it. Also some materials are going to cause more saliva build up which will greatly diminish the usefulness of the mouth stick and potentially cause issues with gagging or choking. You don't want anything that is going to cause spinters or rubbing. If the stick isn't positioned or held properly in the mouth it won't be much use, as well there is a risk of straining or damaging the muscles in the neck. A dentist is a very good place to start because they can tell you what materials can be safely used in the mouth.

    One option that I have seen used for temporary mouth sticks is polymer clay like this which can be bought at craft stores fairly cheaply http://www.sculpey.com/Products/products_poly_supersculp.htm

    Not sure if something like this could be found there but maybe. It is non toxic and can be formed and then baked in an oven to retain its shape. If nothing else is available this would probably be a decent solution. Although as I said I have only seen this used as a temporary solution. It is likely that the ph levels and acid in the mouth would mean the clay would eventually start to break down. Maybe even very quickly. Also keeping the clay end hygenic could be an issue. But if nothing else is available it could work out okay coupled with wooden dowling.

    If using clay just make sure to closely read the ingredients to ensure nothing is toxic.
    Last edited by orangejello; 04-14-2009 at 01:42 PM.

  5. #5
    Kati, so far this is what I have designed. Use a stick about 1/4" in diameter. Bamboo would be ideal.

    On the mouth end, slide on a short (1") piece of rubber tubing. This could be confiscated from an old tire pump or something. However, it should be thoroughly cleaned and possibly even boiled in water or a few minutes. An alternative would be to wrap the mouth part with adhesive tape, if available. The mouth end must be cushioned with something like that to prevent wearing the enamel off the teeth, which bare wood can do. It could be enhanced with a pressure plate made from some kind of rubber or other flexible material 1/8" to 1/4" thick. This would be cut into a 1" or 2" inch circle. Then a hole can be made in the middle just big enough to fit the stick through. That is slid onto the stick to rest against the mouth piece and fastened securely. The user would hold the cushioned end in his or her teeth, keeping the circle against the lips to help apply pressure when needed. I am trying to imagine the environment there and what might be at hand.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Katilea's Avatar
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    I'll pass that info on, see if someone can make her something similar.

    Thanks

    Kati

  7. #7
    katilea,
    what about something like a cheapo plastic chopstick with adhesive tape on the mouth end? too hard?
    by the way, has your friend used a mouthstick before? i ask because i have freidriechs too, and theres no way i could with any accuracy...

  8. #8
    If you're looking for what's safe in the mouth, consider using sports equipment such as a mouth guard used by football players. The user could bite on that and hopefully not harm teeth or gums. Of course, you'll need to attach a very, very lightweight stick of the proper length to it.

    Just an idea.

  9. #9
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    I have no arm/hand movement and use my mouthstick for everything.
    I use these, they are ca. $50
    http://www.rehabmart.com/product/5979.htm

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