Gum (Periodontal) Disease

Frequently Asked Questions

10. If I have trouble cleaning my teeth and gums because of arthritis or a physical disability, what can I do?

If your hands have become stiff because of arthritis or if you have a physical disability, you may find it difficult to use your toothbrush or dental floss. The following tips might make it easier for you to clean your teeth and gums.

Make the toothbrush easier to hold. The same kind of Velcro® strap used to hold food utensils is helpful for some people.

Make the toothbrush handle bigger. You can cut a small slit in the side of a tennis ball and slide it onto the handle of the toothbrush.

You can also buy a toothbrush with a large handle, or you can slide a bicycle grip onto the handle. Attaching foam tubing, available from home health care catalogs, is also helpful.

Try other toothbrush options. A power toothbrush might make brushing easier. Some people may find that it takes time to get used to a power toothbrush.

A floss holder can make it easier to hold the dental floss.

Also, talk with your dentist about whether an oral irrigation system, special small brushes, or other instruments that clean between teeth are right for you. Be sure to check with your dentist, though, before using any of these methods since they may injure the gums if used improperly.