Arthritis and Oral Health Care at Home

Saturday, February 9th, 2013, 1:22 am

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis need to be especially careful about oral health care, but limited mobility can make home care difficult.Gum disease fact and fiction discussed by Dr. Joseph Wilbanks.

My last post talked about the link between the inflammation caused by gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Because RA patients have 8 times the risk of developing gum disease and studies have shown that eliminating gum disease can reduce RA symptoms it is vitally important that brushing and flossing are completed every day. Some patients  have a hard time maintaining good oral hygiene because swollen, painful joints in their hands make brushing and flossing difficult.

  • Try an electric toothbrush – these are great for people with limited mobility.
  • Reinvent your toothbrush grip – add a tennis ball or bicycle handle grip to your regular toothbrush handle.
  • Try floss picks or floss threaders. Wrapping floss around swollen fingers can be difficult – adding a handle can help.
  • Use protective mouth rinses after brushing and flossing. Ask your dentist for a recommended brand.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking greatly increases your risk of gum disease and can interfere with healing.
  • Make sure you tell your dentist about your rheumatoid arthritis – we can try to make you more comfortable in the dental chair.

Gum disease and the inflammation it causes has been linked to conditions like stroke, heart disease, diabetes as well as rheumatoid arthritis. Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 today to schedule your visit. Working together we can help you maintain a healthy smile for a healthier you!

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