There is some disagreement about how long to wear a prosthesis before changing it. Some people prefer to remove and clean it every day or two, while others may keep it in a week or even much longer, but clean it while in place during that time. One helpful tool to use to keep the prothesis clean while it is in place is to use a flushing pipet. WebWhispers members have also described how a pipet can be improved by cutting the tip from a pipet and pushing it on to the end of a syringe. Almost any syringe will work including those sold for dispensing medicine orally to babies and infants. The 20 cc size is a particulary good one. This provides more water under greater pressure to squirt through the prosthesis and flush out food particles and liquids which contribute to yeast built up. The pipet/syringe is typically used a couple of times a day, after meals, or anytime there is a leakage problem or mucous build-up.
Another useful tool to help keep the prosthesis clean is a tiny two inch long brush you can usually find anywhere toothbrushes are sold. They come two to three to a package. The intended purpose of the brush is to clean between the teeth, but they are also an excellent size to use in cleaning out mucous from the entrance to the prosthesis. Those who wear the 20 French diameter prosthesis may prefer the brush with the tapered bristles which resemble a Christmas tree, while those who wear the smaller diameter may prefer the cylinder shaped one.
But care should be taken not to insert the brush (or anything else) all the way through the prosthesis. There are two reasons for this. One is to avoid damaging the prosthesis valve. The second reason is that the normal position of the esophagus is closed. If something sharp penetrates through the prosthesis, it can scratch or puncture the back wall of the esophagus opposite the prosthesis. This could cause potentially serious medical problems.
The little brush is a better alternative to the pipe cleaner some larys use to clean the prosthesis since it is more easily kept from penetrating too far into the prosthesis, it should not shed any fibers, and it can be soaked in peroxide to be used indefinitely. But whatever our prosthesis cleaning methods are, it should always be done gently and carefully. Ed.
Welcome to New Members!
Welcome new WebWhispers members who joined in September :
Liz Ann Casey
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