If your rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, keeps you from flossing your teeth properly, you may wonder if there's anything you can do to improve your oral care. Flossing your teeth at least once a day can help reduce the plaque and bacteria in your mouth, especially in areas your toothbrush may not reach easily. However, RA can cause pain and other symptoms in the joints of your hands and fingers. Holding and manipulating your floss may not be easy for you. If you don't floss as recommended, you place your teeth and gums at risk for decay and disease. Here are things you can do to help clean your teeth each day.
Use a Water Flosser
A water flosser is an alternative to using traditional floss. The flosser uses a thin stream of water and different types of heads to clean away plaque and bacteria. If you have gum disease because of RA or are at risk for gum disease, it's important that you remove as much plaque and bacteria from your mouth as possible to protect your oral health.
In addition, most flossers come with wide or thick handles to help you grip them better during use. These features reduce stress on your hand and finger joints. If you can't find a flosser with a wide handle, you can always have someone wrap several layers of waterproof tape around the handle to increase its thickness.
Staying hydrated also helps protect your mouth from bacteria by encouraging your saliva glands to make more saliva. Although saliva is made of 99 percent water, it can decrease in moisture if you experience an illness, disease or dehydration. If you don't drink enough water each day, you can become dehydrated.
Men should strive for at least 13 cups of water per day, while women should try to drink 9 cups. Because of your rheumatoid arthritis, your health needs may be different from someone who doesn't have RA. It's a good idea to consult with your doctor or a dental provider about your hydration needs.
You can also consume juicy fruits, such as peaches and strawberries, to help you obtain the hydration you need. If you see a nutritionist for your RA, ask them to add foods to your meal plans that address your hydration needs.
For more information about maintaining your oral health with RA, contact a dental provider near you today. Visit www.hcdentistry.com to learn more.