Brushing Tips for TMJ Sufferers

When we don’t feel well it’s easy to let certain routines slide. But not where your teeth and gums are concerned.

Good dental hygiene matters, and you certainly should not avoid these activities simply because it occasionally hurts to brush and floss. Try these tips to help maintain routine care without compromising comfort.

SmileUse a soft toothbrush

When purchasing a new toothbrush, the choices are easier than anything Goldilocks ever experienced. You don’t need to worry about a brush that is hard, medium or soft. If you suffer from TMJ pain, you may discover that a soft brush is just right. Soft brushes can more than adequately scrub away plaque and bacteria, and in general they are much gentler on the teeth and gums.

Replace often

A toothbrush is no object to develop a sentimental attachment to. In fact, toothbrushes are an inexpensive part of our essential hygiene. So you should be replacing yours often – every three to four months. Don’t get suckered into unnecessary add-ons, though. You don’t need a toothbrush with bells and whistles. All you need is a brush with soft bristles – and these can be purchased at many retailers for as little as one dollar.

Attached to the power brush?

Are you convinced that only a power-assisted toothbrush can adequately provide the level of clean you seek? That’s fine. You don’t need to discontinue its use because of TMJ discomfort. Just be cautious. Use it slowly and make sure the jarring motion does not cause discomfort. If you start to notice jaw pain after brushing, you may need to reevaluate your mechanical options and revert back to manual brushing.

But I can’t open wide enough to floss!”

Flossing is an important part of a healthy dental regimen. If you can comfortably open your mouth wide enough, you should be flossing your teeth daily. However, if you start to experience pain and can no longer open your mouth wide enough, many other options are available.

Rubber tip stimulators, floss holders and interdental brushes are available in most oral hygiene sections at local grocery stores or pharmacies. If you are uncertain which tool will work best for you, consult with your dentist or hygienist. They can provide further suggestions as to which instrument will be best for you. Don’t forget, you should receive a routine dental cleaning once every 6 months. These visits provide a convenient time to ask your dentist for tips.

Rinsing them gently

If the pain is unbearable, try using an antiseptic mouth wash. This is an effective means of killing bacteria and germs that cause plaque and gum disease. Make sure you rinse your mouth after each meal and before bedtime. If you find the burn associated with these rinses to be unbearable, look for a non-alcoholic product. Remember, mouth wash is an important supplement to good dental care, but it should never serve as a substitute in lieu of regular brushing. Try to use mouth wash regularly, and use it exclusively only during bouts of extreme pain.


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