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Oral bacteria, rheumatoid arthritis and the TSA

Mary Man's RA Journal Icon

There is a growing link between oral bacteria and rheumatoid arthritis. I keep this in mind as I pack my suitcase for my visit to my favorite people, my grandchildren, Madison and Nate. I packed my fancy toothbrush, my Tom’s toothpaste, floss and pics. I had a small container of Biotene mouth rinse. However, I only had a big jug of Crest Pro Health Multi-protection mouth rinse. I could not find a travel container among my travel gear. I improvised. I had a snap-it plastic container, guaranteed never to leak. Perfect, I thought. I am set to go.

Traveled. Arrived. Couldn’t find my mouth wash. Managed with what I had. Enjoyed a wonderful visit. Traveled home. As I was cleaning out my suitcase I noticed two pieces of paper. The first said my luggage had been chosen to be inspected. The second was as follows

I found out what happened to my mouthwash. The TSA has saved the country again by confiscating the very mouthwash that helps protect my mouth from disease and consequently worsening RA. I feel so safe. Not.

The TSA action does remind me of the story of the man who dropped his keys and only looked for them under the streetlight where he could see. I’m sure you have heard it. I wish the TSA would understand the moral of the story.

Oral Hygiene is very important to those with rheumatoid arthritis. There appears to be a link between oral health and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Is periodontal disease a trigger for rheumatoid arthritis? Is it a factor in worsening RA disease?  There is growing evidence that the answers are yes. Any inflammation in the body is tough on RA.

Excellent mouth care is a must for those with RA. Brushing, flossing and a good rinse should be routine. For those with dry mouth syndrome, Biotene oral rinse is a valuable help.

Rheumatoid arthritis makes it difficult to do the mouth care routine. Here are a few helpers.  An electric toothbrush.  Check to be sure the weight isn’t too much for you. Water pic might substitute for those who cannot floss. Mouthwash at night. Keep a comfortable stool in the bathroom. Sit on it while brushing and flossing. Take your time.

If fatigue is severe, shower. Rest for a while. Dress. Rest for a while. Dental care. Rest for a while. Make yourself as comfortable as possible. You can get all the things you need to do done. You may need to do them in segments. Whatever works.

Good home mouth care is half the equation. The other half is good checkups.  A visit to your dentist twice a year is mandatory. Your mouth will thank you. Your rheumatoid arthritis will also thank you.



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