By Clark Hammock, DMD; doctor, executive vice president, Dentistry of the Carolinas
Proper dental hygiene can become especially problematic for those suffering from or other forms of finger joint and wrist pain. When it becomes just too painful to hold or manipulate a toothbrush or dental floss, chances are those important jobs suddenly don’t get done properly or at all.
For those patients we often suggest the use of an electric or Sonicare toothbrush. Both the American Hygienist Association and American Dental Association have recommended Sonicare for those who suffer from arthritis. It provides a larger handle that is easier to grip and the sonic action is more effective and precise when cleaning your teeth. Another, less expensive solution is to poke a small hole in a tennis ball and push your toothbrush handle through the ball. You’ve instantly got something much easier to grip and use.
Dental floss picks may be easier than actually holding dental floss or the automatic flosser by Waterpik is also a very good alternative. The worst thing you can do is not tell anybody and stop caring for your teeth. Let your doctor and dentist know if these problems arise and together they will be able to determine a suitable solution to meet your needs.
DOC’s Dr. Clark Hammock has recently been featured in the Arthritis Services of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County quarterly newsletter. This is the final article of a four-part blog series addressing oral health and arthritis.