Flexibility Issues Limiting Your Tooth Care?

Cosmetic_DentistUsing a toothbrush and floss is a simple task that keeps your smile bright and clean. Unless, of course, you have limited mobility. “Flexibility can make a huge difference in how well you clean your teeth,” says Theresa Haskell, a hygienist in Dr. Carol Ford’s Phoenix dentistry practice. “And the length of time the mobility problems are expected to last make a big difference in your oral health profile,” she continues.

A finger cut that throbs for a day may not cause a lot of problems, while neuropathy (numbness or pain in hands or feet), arthritis, or poor muscle control because of a stroke can be a permanent issue. A disease like scleroderma (an auto-immune disease that effects skin mainly on the hands and face) may improve with exercises of the mouth, tongue and jaw, which your hygienist can help you with.

If you have mobility problems, the dental hygienist is an excellent resource. A hygienist is not only well-trained, but has information and experience with a wide variety of toothbrushes, floss and the ways to work around problems.

Often, the kind of toothbrush is not as important as the patient’s comfort with the tool. “The toothbrush you like to use, that’s easy to use, that you will use long enough twice a day to do a good cleaning job is the best toothbrush for you,” says Dr. Ford. “Electric toothbrushes may reach back teeth more easily, but some models may be heavier than others and the vibrating brush may not be as comfortable as a manual one,” adds Theresa.

The same is true of using floss—the brand is not as important as the effectiveness of your using it. A good hygienist can help you find the floss that is both comfortable and practical. “We are always happy to show patients how to use floss threaders or the various flossing tools,” Theresa says. “Some threaders have handles that are easier to hold, and some flossing tools have lightweight handles that are easier to manipulate,” she adds.

“Always ask your dentist questions about tooth care,” says Dr. Ford. “We want to keep you healthy so you can enjoy years of a bright smile,” she says.

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