Doing Things Differently: Why I Brush My Teeth At Strange Times
I guess it’s normal to brush your teeth when you wake up and before bed. I like brushing mine at different points in the day when I can manage it based around my pain levels.
I have trigeminal neuralgia, which is facial pain, mainly in my mouth. One of my pain triggers is brushing my teeth.. but sometimes the pain is already so bad that I can’t brush them at all.
I see why you’re supposed to brush your teeth morning and night. I love the fresh feeling in the morning and it definitely is good to give your teeth a good clean at the end of the day, but it’s okay to do things a little differently.
I always feel really ashamed that my illness doesn’t always let me clean myself. Not brushing your teeth is dirty. Whenever I go to the dentist, I’m embarrassed that my teeth aren’t as looked after as they should be.. Why do I feel like that when it’s not my fault? I have an intense pain in my mouth! How does that make me so ashamed?!
I also use a baby toothbrush! Even soft adult toothbrushes aren’t soft enough for me. When I nip to the shops for a new toothbrush each for me and my fiance, I pick up a firm or medium one for him and a child sized, colourful one for myself. This probably doesn’t give me the best clean either, but it does feel more comfortable.
What I’m trying to say is that it’s okay to do things differently to suit your illness. No one will raise an eyelid at someone with a physical difficultly doing something a bit differently in order to get by. If you were missing an arm and you found a different way of doing up your laces, or cutting your steak, that’s okay.. and expected. If I don’t brush my teeth when I wake up, that should be okay and expected too.. had anyone actually ever heard of my illness!
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I too have trigeminal neuralgia, atypical trigeminal neuralgia and occipital neuralgia . With my work doing wheelchairs and working with disabled persons it’s strenuous. Since getting occipital neuralgia I had to stop working the day hab portion of my work due to the physical risks to my body and the constant running around and moving triggered my ON. It’s taken part of my job away, most of my income and I can’t do anything about it…. there’s many things that have changed for me due to TN…. this is only the most recent in the past week.