Arthritis in your hands, wrists, and other joints can make daily activities painful and unpleasant. If you’re suffering from any type of arthritis, it’s not uncommon to want to skip out on things that cause you discomfort, including brushing your teeth. However, avoiding your oral care can lead to other health issues: recent studies have linked arthritis to gum disease, periodontal disease, and even tooth loss. Here at Dobson Ranch Dental Care in Mesa, AZ, we believe that brushing and flossing should be a pain-free activity, which is why we’ve put together these tips to help those living with arthritis.
1. Sit While You Brush
If standing is difficult during your normal daily activities, take advantage of the time in the bathroom and take a seat while you brush your teeth. Rest your elbow on the sink to help keep your arm steady and relieve some of the pain you feel in the joints required for brushing. If you find that this task is difficult as well, then sit with a large bowl of water in your lap for the length of time it takes to clean your teeth. It’s important that you continue to brush for at least two minutes every time, so if you need additional encouragement for proper oral care, turn on some music and brush for the length of an entire song.
2. Use an Automatic Toothbrush and Flosser
Depending on the severity of your arthritis, it may be time to consider automatic tools rather than a normal bristle brush. Investing in an automatic toothbrush can help ease your discomfort since the head of the brush moves itself, and thus you don’t have to worry as much about the rotation of your wrist. The handles are typically larger as well, making them ideal for seniors who struggle to grip smaller objects. Don’t forget the flosser! Automatic flossers or water picks are also a safe option for those that find it difficult to grip a thin string and reach the back corners of the mouth.
3. Squeeze the Tube
Squeezing things can become difficult, especially if your arthritis has progressed. If this is the case, squeezing the toothpaste tube can be rather difficult. Instead, set the tube on the counter and press the paste out with your palm. Start from the bottom of the tube to make sure you get all of the paste as you go along. If the tube is almost empty, try running it downward along the edge of the sink at a 90-degree angle to encourage the paste to travel up to the opening. There are also toothpaste dispensers on the market that make squeezing a little bit easier for those living with pain in their hands.
Oral care and oral health are important throughout our entire lives, especially as we age. If you’re a senior looking for expert guidance as you navigate aging, contact us today! Our team of dental experts is here to guide you and treat you for common dental issues related to aging, whether it is gum disease, tooth loss, or finding dentures that fit. To speak to a Dobson Ranch Dental Care physician today, call us at (480) 838-8558.