There are several reasons why people who suffer from arthritis need to go for dental checkups more frequently than those who do not have this condition. Read on to learn what these reasons are.
Their arthritic joints may make it harder for them to clean their teeth properly
When a person has arthritis, many of the joints in their body can become inflamed and sore, including the joints in their hands. Those who have arthritic joints in their hands may find it very difficult to clean their teeth properly. For example, maintaining a strong grip on a toothbrush and changing the angle of the brush's bristles when trying to clean different areas of each tooth may be next to impossible for a person whose hand joints are swollen and stiff.
Likewise, using a string of floss to extract food from between each tooth requires a level of dexterity that an arthritis-sufferer may not have. Because of this, those who suffer from this disease may notice that tartar forms on their teeth at an alarmingly fast rate. This tartar needs to be removed in order to prevent the teeth that it is attached to from decaying.
Because of how hard tartar tends to be, it can only be removed from teeth with extremely sharp dental instruments. This is why people who have arthritis should visit their dentist very regularly, as these visits will enable their dentist to scrape away the tartar before it begins to damage any teeth.
They may be more susceptible to gum disease
A person who suffers from arthritis may have more chance of developing gum disease than a person who does not have this health condition. The reason for this is as follows; those who have arthritis will usually have much higher levels of inflammation in their body than the average healthy person. This inflammation may affect their gums and in doing so, may increase their chances of developing severe gum disease (as gum inflammation is often one of the first stages of this oral health condition).
However, if someone with arthritis has their teeth and gums checked by a dentist very frequently, they may be able to stave off gum disease, as their dentist will be able to see the early warning signs and offer treatments that will prevent any further progression of the disease.
Examples of treatments that their dentist may offer include prescription mouthwash, root planing (where the tartar below the gum line is removed) and gum grafts.