myasthenia gravis and oral care

Oral Care Products for People with MG

Last updated: July 2022

People with myasthenia gravis (MG) may experience individual struggles with daily oral care. I previously talked about risks at the dentist and tips on how to prepare for a dentist visit. Now I will focus on products to help with oral care when there are physical challenges.

There are many products on the market that may help. As a person living with MG, I have found several products I think might be beneficial for someone having difficulties with their oral hygiene.

Oral care tips

Here are some ideas for those with difficulties in maintaining good oral hygiene to help prevent tooth decay:1

  • Consider avoiding sugary drinks or foods
  • Drink tap water or unsweetened drinks
  • Avoid tobacco products

When you cannot brush

So, what can you do if you cannot brush your teeth? While the following suggestions may help clear food from your teeth, they will not take the place of proper brushing and flossing. However, during those times when it’s impossible to brush, try cleaning your teeth with these:

  • Mouthwash
  • Sugar-free gum
  • Drinking or rinsing with water

If I am experiencing chewing problems with my MG, I will avoid using gum.

Helpful products

There are several dental hygiene aids for those who may be experiencing MG symptoms such as muscle weakness, fatigue, and more. Here are some products available I believe may help when maintaining your oral hygiene is difficult.

Types of toothbrushes

Curved toothbrushes can offer a better variety of angles when brushing is difficult. There are various shapes and sizes available. You can find these at a medical supply store or online at sites such as Amazon.

Considering using an electric toothbrush. They often have a larger handle, making it easier to grip. Triple-headed toothbrushes may be used to get to all surfaces of your teeth at one time, while a small-headed toothbrush can be used if a regular toothbrush is too larger.

Other types of food removal

To get rid of build-up on your tongue, a tongue scraper can work great and helps alleviate bad breath. For build up in your teeth, a one-handed flossing stick may help. Additionally, single-use oral care swabs not only help remove food particles, plaque, and extra saliva, but they can also be used to moisten a dry mouth.

Use with caution

While it may sound like a good idea to use a waterpik, I encourage people with MG to use caution. This product shoots water under pressure into your mouth. If you are having mouth weakness or swallowing difficulties, it may cause choking.

If you are having problems with choking, regular toothpaste may cause more saliva. However, without toothpaste, you will leave some tartar behind, so if you could use one that didn’t foam, you may be able to tolerate it. Check the toothpaste labels and talk to your dentist about other options.

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