If you have been left with partial paralysis and numbness after a stroke you had recently, these tips should help you with the challenges of looking after your oral health when you have these side-effects.
Use your sense of smell and sight to decide if you need to be seen by your dentist
The main symptom or sensation that helps people to realise that they need to be seen by their dentist is oral pain. Pain is the means by which a person's body signals to them that there is a health problem that needs attention. However, if the side of your face that was affected by the stroke is numb, then you won't experience this sensation if or when you develop a dental condition that usually affects the tooth nerves and causes pain.
Because of this, it is critical to use your other senses to determine if you are in need of your dentist's help. For example, if you get a tooth abscess, you might not feel the intense pain that most people do when they have this problem. However, if your toothbrush smells awful after it's been in your mouth or if you can see that the numb part of your face looks quite swollen, you should get your dentist to look at your teeth, as in addition to causing pain, abscesses can also cause facial swelling and bad breath. Using your other senses to assess the problem could enable you to get the abscess cleaned out before any major infection occurs.
Double the length of time that you spend brushing if you need to use your non-dominant hand
If your dominant hand was paralysed by the stroke, you may have to use your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth. If this is the case, you should double the length of time that you spend brushing.
The reason for this is as follows; no matter how much effort you put into brushing your teeth carefully with this hand, you will be unable to carry out this action as well as you once did with your other hand. You may miss certain spots or struggle to do the up-and-down motion that helps to lightly scrub plaque off the teeth. However, if you spend an extra three minutes or so on this task, the chances of you gradually removing as much plaque as you previously did when using your other hand will be much higher.Share
13 November 2019
As a retired dentist, I work with charities which visit developing countries and educate children about dental care. It gives me great satisfaction to revisit these communities and see how proud the children are of their efforts. I am acutely aware that good dental hygiene can help prevent a range of serious conditions when these children become older. I started this blog because it greatly distresses me that many people in Australia do not seem to care for their teeth as much as children in these poor communities. This is happening despite ready access to items like toothbrushes and toothpaste which are luxuries in the places I visit. It is my hope that this blog encourages you not to take dental health for granted. My greatest wish is that you can be as inspired as the children I see in my charity work. Please read on and enjoy.