I was reading an article the other day with advice from 80 year olds to a younger generation. There was a lot of great advice but for some reason one stuck out.
“Floss and take care of your teeth.”
I had never given it much thought, but then I thought, yes, my parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles all have dental issues from crowns to dentures to root canals, etc. I’m not a fan of yogurt and oatmeal and it dawned on me that I don’t want to have to eat only mushy stuff when I am older because of my current neglect to my teeth.
I’ll be honest I am not the best at keeping up with regular dental appointments partly because of insurance coverage and cost, and the bigger part is because I just don’t like the dentist experience – the latex flavored fingers poking around and pulling at my cheeks, my uncontrollable drooling, that little spritz of water all over my face from that tiny water hose in my mouth, sore gums, the slight taste of blood, my gag reflex and that one-sided conversation with a semi-stranger who is torturing me. And let’s add maneuvering around a small room and transferring out of my wheelchair onto the exam chair.
My dentist always tells me I need to floss more. Although I try to make myself seem like a better person by saying “I don’t always floss” the truth is we both know I hardly ever floss (I know, I’m gross don’t judge me). When your quadriplegic hands don’t have the dexterity, control and grip that a hand should have, flossing is really difficult and nearly impossible unless someone helps you. So, I just don’t do it. When I explain my flossing hardships to the dentist, although he tries to be helpful and understanding, he just doesn’t get it and his suggestions aren’t solutions. So, I just don’t do it.
In my experience the best brainstorming and problem-solving happens with family, friends and peers (leave it to the true professionals). When I mentioned my dilemma to a caregiver and then my brother, they suggested some tools out there that could help me floss independently. And, of course I went to Amazon to see what I could find and read reviews.
So even if you are a quad with zero hand and arm movement and someone needs to floss your teeth for you, these tools can probably make it easier. Hopefully, my dreams where all my teeth fall out will never come true now that I have a floss-filled lifestyle! Cheers to beautiful happy smiles!
- Floss Pick – The handle was too short for me
- Long Handle floss pick – worked for me!
- Soft Floss Pick – Nice for sensitive gums and has a long handle
- Options with different buttons to power on/off – find a style that works for your hand function
- Fancy Waterpik (have not tried)
- AirFlosser (have not tried)
Written by Reveca Torres