Polio Survivors can experience symptoms that make it more challenging to look after their teeth and gums, putting them more at risk of developing dental diseases such as tooth decay and gum disease.
Muscle weakness and pain and general fatigue can make it difficult to clean the teeth thoroughly on a regular basis. Changes to the diet may be necessary to manage difficulty in swallowing. If care is not taken to minimise sugary or acidic foods, tooth decay is likely to occur.
By being aware of these risks, Polio Survivors can make some simple modifications to their daily routine that will allow them to maintain good oral health.
Brushing And Flossing
It is important to thoroughly clean the teeth on a twice-daily basis. This generally requires brushing as well as cleaning between the teeth. The latter is typically achieved using floss, although there are other options available, which you can learn about here: Choosing Right Way To Clean Teeth
Polio Survivors who experience hand and arm problems due to muscle and joint weakness or pain may find it helpful to use an electric toothbrush instead of a manual one. The handle of an electric toothbrush is thicker making it easier to grip. And its oscillating head does most of the work in cleaning the teeth. A wall-mounted toothpaste dispenser may also be helpful, rather than fiddling with tubes that need to be squeezed.
Having a healthy diet is important, not only for one’s overall health, but also for oral health. Foods and beverages that are unhealthy tend to also be bad for teeth. Try to reduce snacking on lollies, chips, chocolates, biscuits, cakes and even muesli bars; beware of hidden sugars in foods and drinks.
If you have needed to modify your diet to accommodate difficulty with swallowing, be mindful about the quantity and frequency of sugars that you are consuming. Many soft foods are sweet- custards, jellies, ice cream- so plan your modified diet to ensure you are not constantly consuming sugars and that you are receiving all the nutrients you need for general health.
You will find more information about the importance of a healthy diet for your dental health in these articles: