A blog to highlight dental issues we face
Brushing your teeth is a normal part of everyone’s day - though for some people it’s a bit more of a challenge. Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine is vital not only for dental health but, along with reducing the likelihood of infections, can also contribute to higher self-esteem.
When I was first diagnosed with MS, I didn’t realise that at some point, I would find it awkward to brush my teeth. As my mobility decreased, twisting my wrist or elbow to reach all areas of my teeth became harder and harder. Add into that the fatigue at the end of the day, and it can make for a pretty inadequate brushing routine. I have inherited pretty poor quality teeth anyway, so brushing is vitally important for me to avoid dental bills, potential infections, and avoiding the loss of some teeth.
After winning an electric toothbrush as a raffle prize, I thought that it might be helpful. And I was right - the amount of contorting needed to reach all my teeth was greatly reduced, and I could brush much more effectively.
As time went on, my electric toothbrush was beginning to die - the rechargeable battery was struggling, so I started to look for a new one. The one I ended up buying is great - it’s a bit quieter, a bit lighter, and the battery is amazing.
A week or so later I read a review on electric toothbrushes. I was surprised to read, that although most electric toothbrushes have a circular head, it was better to use one with a regular shaped head (rectangular). Apparently, circular heads are pretty ineffective unless used by someone in the dental profession as there’s quite a knack to it. Naturally, I went straight to the bathroom and checked out my new toothbrush. Phew, it had the recommended rectangular head of bristles.
Another solution to the dexterity issues associated with brushing is the 3 sided toothbrush. It brushes all three sides of your teeth at the same time, which also minimises fatigue-related problems. This toothbrush could also be of benefit to those with sensory issues or who intensely dislike having their teeth brushed. (And yes, I do sell these, both in adult and child sizes.)
My last dentist really impressed on me the importance of flossing, but with my fine motor control often MIA, manipulating floss on its own was nigh on impossible, let alone trying to contort my arms to correctly position the floss between my teeth. She put me onto floss dental picks - a small plastic stick which holds dental floss at one end. This, I am able to use, and use well and it is now part of my daily mouth hygiene routine.
For me, it’s not so much about which toothpaste to use; more a case of having difficulty in squeezing toothpaste out of the tube. If the tube was recently bought, new tubes can often be hard to squeeze. Similarly, old tubes which need the toothpaste pushed up the tube to the cap can take me a lot of effort and not a great success rate. I’m always looking for ways to keep my independence - and this tube squeezer has been great. (And yes, these are on my website too.)
So, the upshot of all this, is that there are often unexpected dental issues for a person with any disability, but rest assured, there is likely to be a solution. Just smile :)