If you are an arthritis sufferer, you are twice as likely to develop periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease is the country’s number one cause of tooth loss and has been linked to serious health problems. These include coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes, and memory loss. Findings published by the Journal of Periodontology stated that patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) had an average tooth loss of 11.6 teeth compared to 6.7 teeth of other participants in the study.
RA is the nation’s leading cause of disability and limits the daily activities of over 7 million Americans. Because we understand the physical limitations RA can cause, the following tips are provided to make your oral hygiene at home easier.
• Water irrigators can remove food particles and plaque between teeth.
• Electric toothbrushes and floss holders can reduce the amount of effort required by the hands.
• Wrap toothbrush handles with a sponge hair roller to create a more comfortable, thicker grip.
• Replace knob-type faucets with levers, which are easier to turn on and off.
• Insufficient saliva in the mouth increases the risk of bacterial growth. Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist. If you are taking medications that are drying, oral rinses are available to help maintain oral moisture. Minimize caffeine, alcohol, and smoking, all which are drying to oral tissues.
With a good oral care commitment, RA sufferers can maintain a healthy smile and prevent tooth loss. If you suffer with arthritis, overcoming the physical limitations to protect your smile will result in a constant reminder that YOU are in charge of your health!