Dental Hygiene

Dear Friends:

We've all been told about the importance of fighting plaque. Brushing after eating, flossing, and having regular professional cleanings is vital to overall good health.

Many of us think the flossing part isn't really necessary, but it's actually crucial for many reasons: the first is obvious—it removes food particles from between teeth before decay sets in. Flossing also firms gums, and that prevents periodontal disease. Periodontal disease causes bone loss. It also means a lengthy trip to a periodontist for scaling and cleaning the gums.

The third reason is that bacteria in the mouth can travel through the bloodstream to the heart. In fact, some cardiologists recommend a thorough dental cleaning prior to heart surgery. So please floss! It only takes a couple of minutes and you can do it while reading or watching television. It sure beats hours in the dentist's chair. (That doesn't come cheap!) Or worse—tooth loss.

Since oral hygiene is a lot trickier for folks with limited use of one or both hands, it's good to know about adaptive dental tools and tips.



If nothing else, antibacterial mouthwash covers a lot of ground. Listerine now comes in several palatable flavors, and there are many other brands of mouthwash available.

For those who can't use mouthwash, rinsing with salt water also cleans well, and that is wise to do any time a cold or flu is coming on.

For those who can't grasp a toothbrush, rubbing toothpaste on the teeth, tongue and gums with a finger or washcloth is very effective. If there isn't a sink or mouthwash handy, just "swish and swallow" with water. Water alone will rinse away a lot of bacteria that causes bad breath and cavities.

For better traction, try wrapping the handle of an electric toothbrush with a wet washcloth or piece of rubber. This helps prevent the brush from slipping. Then, let an electric brush do all the work; they clean more thoroughly than a manual toothbrush. Battery-operated toothbrushes are sold alongside toothpaste and manual brushes, and cost a lot less than rechargeable brushes.

If grasping is a problem, an occupational therapist will outfit patients with a hand-grip or grasping tools.



Use DenTips™ as an alternative to using a toothbrush. DenTips™ are disposable, individually wrapped swabs made with soft, polyester tips treated with peppermint flavored dentifrice (cleaner). They are available in packages of 10 or boxes of 250 where personal care and home healthcare items are sold or find them on Amazon.

ToothTowels™are an easy alternative to brushing and found in the UK. ToothTowels™ clean teeth and freshen breath. They are mint flavored towelettes, individually packaged, tote-able, and disposable. 

Grip-Matefully fills the hand for a more positive grip and has an adjustable velcro strap with a "D-ring" for secure adjustment to any hand-size. The Grip-Mate™ is 2 1/4-inches in diameter by four inches in length, and opens for insertion of a knife, fork, spoon, pencil, comb, toothbrush, etc.

A self-rotating toothbrush with a horizontal palm handle was designed for individuals with limited hand/forearm movement or weakened gripping ability. The rotating toothbrush has a plastic-covered, 3 1/2" handgrip that easily adjusts to any size hand. Cleans up with soap and water and measures nine inches long, latex-free in assorted colors.

The DexTBrush™ is designed to prevent over-insertion into the mouth. Its special oblong shape will not allow it to be thrust deep enough into the mouth to injure the throat or palate. Product is latex-free. Its soft, end-rounded, polished bristles remove plaque.

Tube-squeezer is a plastic vertical stand (2 1/4 inches round x 1 3/4 inches high) that holds any size tube of toothpaste two inches wide or less. Squeeze the knob for toothpaste or hand cream--even tubes of shampoo. They are available in packages of 10 or boxes of 250 where personal care and home healthcare items are sold. Also found on Amazon.

The Colgate Navigatoris a manual toothbrush with a contoured, easy-to-grasp handle. It has cushioned gripping dots and padded rubber strips, and is flexible jointed head easily follows the contours of the mouth.

Electric cordless toothbrushes clean more thoroughly than a manual brush because of the brisk, vibrating motion--some models even use sonic waves. The best types are available through your dentist's office. They leave your mouth feeling as clean as when a hygienist cleans it! Now battery-operated toothbrushes are sold inexpensively at most large drugstores.


Flossing Tools

Oral B Hummingbird™ Power Flosser and Pick—Use with one hand, this electric flosser is portable and runs on batteries. (However, it may be difficult for some users to feel for and locate the tiny activation button needed for each tooth.) The Hummingbird also comes with a soft mint dental pick.

Individual flossers—you can find the Reach flossing tool and various plastic flossing heads at Target for single-handed flossing. You may also find generic single flossers at drugstores or home healthcare stores.

Note: Infinitec Inc. does not endorse or recommend these products and has no liability for the results of their use. Infinitec Inc. has received no consideration of any type for featuring any product on this Web site. The information offered herein is a summary; it is not comprehensive and should be carefully evaluated by consumers with the assistance of qualified professionals. The intention of Infinitec Inc. is to offer consumers a brief overview of various assistive technology devices and their applications..