Brushing and Flossing for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

Rheumatoid arthritis patients need to be especially careful about oral health care, but pain and limited mobility can make brushing and flossing difficult. Here are some suggestions that might help.

  • Try an electric toothbrush – these are great for people with limited mobility, there are various types at all prices and most do the job well.
  • 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 if you are treating gum disease.
  • Make sure you tell your dentist about your rheumatoid arthritis – we can try to make you more comfortable in the dental chair.
  • Check your medications to make sure none of them reduce the production of saliva. “Dry mouth” is a common side effect of many medicines and can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.

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. Gum disease and the inflammation it causes has been linked to other conditions such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes as well as rheumatoid arthritis.

Please contact Medford, OR general dentists Rothfus Family Dental  today at 541-858-7994 to schedule your visit.