Anything from handling dental floss properly to holding your toothbrush could be compromised. Fortunately, there are ways that you can continue to care for your teeth even if you are living with arthritis.
Oral Health and Arthritis
If the joints in your hands are affected by arthritis, it is important to find ways to brush and floss your teeth that you can use despite your physical limitations. Here are a few tips that might be able to help:
• Use an electric toothbrush, as these brushes are typically easier to grip and will require less movement of your hand and wrist in order to thoroughly clean your teeth.
• Consider modifying your manual toothbrush, such as cutting a hole inside of a tennis ball and then putting the end of the brush in the ball. This can make it easier to hold onto and control the brush, as you will have more surface area to grip.
• Invest in a floss holder in order to make it easier to hold on the edges of your floss so that you can clean between your teeth.
Arthritis can affect your oral health but it is interesting to note that your oral health can affect your arthritis. Gum disease leads to an increased level of inflammatory proteins in the body.
Is your Oral Health Impacting Your Arthritis?
The mouth is the number one source of inflammation in the body. If you have periodontal disease it is possible that the inflamed gum tissue is creating higher levels of inflammation in your body. Increases in inflammation have been linked to arthritis. I have had patients who have seen an improvement in their arthritis after getting their mouth healthier. It should be a no brainer for you to get your gums healthy as this can only help improve your overall health. You might even be able to keep your teeth for a lifetime. A healthier mouth leads to a healthier body.
Dealing with Arthritis Pain
If your pain is becoming a problem, it is important to see your doctor. Over the counter and prescription medications may be able to ease pain and swelling, which could make it easier to care for your teeth. Hot and cold compresses can also be beneficial.
There are a variety of assistive devices out there that can help to make your life easier if you are living with arthritis. Contact our office about options that can help you to live a pain-free life in which you can better care for your teeth despite your arthritis diagnosis.