Having arthritis in your hands can make everything harder in your daily life, including maintaining your oral hygiene. Nonetheless, it's important to make sure that your gums are kept healthy, even if it's difficult for you to pinch floss between your fingers or to maneuver your hands to floss between your teeth. If you're struggling with maintaining the health of your gums due to arthritis, read this guide to learn how you can make it easier.
More Frequent Dentist Visits
Your very first step is to make sure that you're seeing your dentist on a more frequent basis. Even if you're already seeing your dentist once or twice a year, going more often may be advisable.
The reason for this is that if you're struggling to floss your teeth, chances are brushing isn't easy, either. This could put you at a higher risk of not only developing gum disease, but dental plaque and decay as well. Seeing your dentist will help you to keep these conditions at bay and to make sure that your overall oral health is in good shape.
One of your options to make flossing easier is to use a flossing tool rather than traditional floss. Flosser picks, or flosser handles, as they're sometimes called, are just the tool you need. The handle holds the floss taut between two edges, meaning all you have to do is to hold the handle and slide the floss between your teeth. The handle is significantly bigger than floss, which means you won't have to put as much pressure on your hands as you would pinching floss between your fingers. If your hands are swollen from arthritis, you also won't have to try and put your hand inside your mouth, as the handle is long enough to extend all the way to your rear molars.
Another option is to opt out of using traditional floss entirely and to switch to a water flosser. Water flossers are a great choice for people with arthritis, since they're even longer than flosser picks and can spray your teeth, too, helping to remove plaque. Studies have shown that water flossers are equal to or even superior to traditional floss at removing plaque and debris from between your teeth, so it's a really good choice if you just can't floss traditionally.
Taking care of your teeth and gums isn't easy if you have arthritis, but it's not impossible. Talk to your dentist about creating a care regimen for keeping your mouth healthy in ways that won't strain your hands or wrists.