Arthritis and What It Means for Your Dental Health

As if aging weren’t enough, along with it for many comes painful arthritis. When arthritis affects your hands, brushing your teeth can become next to impossible  Worse yet, if the kind of arthritis you have is RA or rheumatoid arthritis, it brings with it even more concern for your teeth and gums.

Rheumatoid arthritis can increase your chances for tooth decay and gingivitis (gum disease).  When your hands just can’t seem to be able to floss and brush in hard to reach places, it may be time for you to consider modifying your tooth brush or getting a power toothbrush,

This is a time when now, more than ever, paying attention to the care of your teeth and gums is even more important.  When your flossing and brushing become compromised, the bacteria in your mouth will flourish.  This can lead to a build up of plaque on your teeth and it sets the stage for cavities and bleeding, receding gums.  If ignored, these conditions can cause tooth loss.

So, how do we deal with this increase of possible dental problems while suffering with the pain of arthritis?  Perhaps this video will be helpful and hopeful.

How Brush Your Teeth When You Have Arthritis

Brushing Your Teeth Without Pain Despite Your Arthritis

Taking care of your teeth while coping with Arthritis is made easier when you add extra mass and sometimes extra length to the handle of your tooth brush.  Perhaps the best thing to do is to make the tooth brush handle larger and easier to grasp.  People have used many common household items to make that happen.

Putting the handle of your tooth brush through a solid rubber ball makes the brush easy grasp and hold.  Another possibility of an item you may have around the house is to remove the rubber grip on a bicycle’s handlebars and place it on your tooth brush.

There are a number of other helpful items which are specifically designed to do make the handles of your tooth brush, razor and even eating utensils easier to grasp.  Many of these are quite affordable and can be found online at places like or at your local drug store.

Power tooth brushes all have larger handles as well, and may be very helpful for those with major disability.  Regardless your choice, just remember to change your tooth brushes every three to four months for best results.  If you have any questions of what is best for you, Dr. Gehrig, DMD will be happy to share with you the pros and cons of each method as it pertains to you.


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Filed under: Geriatric Dentistry

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