Brushing Your Teeth is Easy, Right? Hang on a minute.

This article was inspired by this prompt from the TheMighty.com

There is one task we are should do in the morning after we eat breakfast and again in the evening before we go to sleep. It is a simple task and its importance is instilled in us from a young age. Can you guess it? It’s brushing your teeth!

While it is very easy, often mundane task for most, it can be challenging for those with chronic conditions. Two of my chronic conditions make brushing my teeth effectively very painful. The first is Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (RSD/CRPS) and the second, and probably more challenging of my many conditions when it comes to brushing my teeth is Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS).

I know that I have to brush my teeth. Not only is it important to maintain oral hygiene, but who really wants to smell my morning breath? Eww. There are other tools like mouthwash and other oral cleansing products, but nothing beats a good scrub with a toothbrush.

Because of the RSD/CRPS, which affects everywhere there’s a nerve, my hands swell up and as luck would have it, it’s worse in the morning and at night. I use a toothbrush with a thicker handle to combat this problem. Because of the RSD/CRPS, my tongue, gums, and teeth are very sensitive, so for my teeth, I use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. I haven’t found a good solution to my gums swelling from the CRPS or the bloody patches on my tongue. The dentist says as far as he’s considered, there’s no infection and people with CRPS can have issues with their mouths as a result of the condition.

Because I’m stubborn and fiercely independent, I wouldn’t dream of asking someone else to help me brush my teeth (except when I’m in the hospital) and the SPS makes physically brushing my teeth challenging. Holding my arm up, moving my wrist around, the repetitive back and forth movement of my wrist, elbow, and shoulder triggers painful spasms causing ineffective brushing. Now, it took me a few months to find one that worked for me, but I found a rechargeable vibrating toothbrush that has cut back on the number of spasms and the time I spend fighting with my muscles to ensure I’m getting each little spot. The soft bristles are perfect for my sensitive mouth from CRPS and give my mouth the TLC it needs to stay healthy. The strength of the vibration is important too, because it can occasionally trigger spasms, so it may take a few tries to get a good fit.

It’s a fine balance to maintain my oral hygiene with not only these conditions, but with my many others as well. Like most people with chronic conditions, I’m always on the lookout for tools that can help make my daily routine more “spoonie” friendly! Sometimes it takes trial, error, frustration, and perseverance to find the good fit for you.

5 thoughts on “Brushing Your Teeth is Easy, Right? Hang on a minute.”

  1. It’s definitely a challenge for me as well! I understand! I wrote a post a couple yrs back on trying not to faint while brushing. It’s easier to do it laying in bed but then CRPS pain is the other obstacle, ughh! People definitely take their good health for granted don’t they, lol.

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    1. PS, I wanted to add that very good turmeric capsules from GNC have helped me with my mouth burning and swelling. My crps is worst in my face, head, throat, mouth, etc and finding the anti inflammatory turmeric has helped also with the burning in my mouth. Not everywhere, but there. Swishing with CBD oil is also soothing.
      If you haven’t tried the Coglate Wisps, they are mini disposable tooth brushes. Amazon Prime users can get an entire bag of 15 or 20 for about $4. They are amazing for when you can’t get to the Restroom. People used to bring me a cup of water and my toothbrush each day but now I can just use the Wisps. Just make sure to get your gums as well bc the brush head is perfectly sized for teeth, lol.
      All of the little hacks are trial and error, but like you, when you want to do it yourself, you are determined to getting around someone else doing it for you whenever possible.
      Wishing you the best!
      Take good care of yourself!

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      1. I tried some good quality tumeric a while back and my stomach just couldn’t tolerate it, so I’m bummed, because people swear by it for quite a few of my conditions.

        Regarding the CBD oil, I wish I could find a type that doesn’t make me break out in hives. It’s weird, because I can tolerate the capsules just fine. It’s bizarre. I don’t understand my body. Lol

        I’ve seen things similar to the Wisps. I’ll look into it again. Thank you!!!

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      2. Oh yes, turmeric can definitely be bad for certain tummy conditions. I can’t take Magnesium even though everyone says it’s a miracle. Our chronic bodies are so stubborn aren’t they lol.

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    2. They most definitely take their good health for granted. You don’t know how good you have it until it’s gone… POTS can make brushing your teeth a dizzying experience too like you mentioned.

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