April is Parkinson’s disease awareness month and there are a number of known complications that PD patients need to be informed about in order to diligently and actively combat them early in their PD diagnosis. The topic of poor dental hygiene in PD patients is not a topic that will likely be discussed by a neurologist or the PD patient, either because of ignorance or embarrassment. However, sometime during the progression of the disease, a PD patient will face challenges with maintaining a healthy dental regimen and that can lead to major problems inside the mouth as well as with nutrition. Following are some tips the PD patient can use to be pro-active in their dental care both at home and during dental exams. Preventive measures early on in the disease are critical and should not be ignored.
Tips for maintaining good home dental care for Parkinson patients
#1-Most important is to educate you about your disease and impending complications. Knowledge is “empowering” and denial is “self-destructive.” Choose knowledge, and dive into various Parkinson’s websites such as Pdf.org, books, support groups, and anywhere else you can find valuable information to help you. Don’t be afraid to initiate conversation about dental concerns and hygiene, with your neurologist or dentist.
#2– While tremors, rigidity and coordination may be minimal early into PD, it is still beneficial to begin using an electric toothbrush. It does a much more thorough job at removing food particles, plaque and tartar than a regular toothbrush and it easier for the PD patient because it requires less effort and coordination. The electric toothbrush does the work for you. A full 2 minute or more brushing several times a day is crucial in maintaining healthy gums and teeth and to minimize problems as the disease progresses.
#3-You may want to consider using a prescription strength stannous topical fluoride gel as a preventive strategy. It is applied directly to the mouth. Even though regular toothpastes have fluoride in them, this topical treatment is much stronger, and your dentist should regulate the dosage and frequency of use.
#4-Parkinson patients should avoid alcohol- based mouthwashes, instead using one which includes chlorhexidine, an antiseptic or baking soda. Another option is a chlorhexidinebrush which is available by prescription only. It comes as a swab soaked with chlorhexidine that is applied directly to your teeth.
Tips for improving dental visits for Parkinson patients
#1- It is best to take levodopa medication 60-90 minutes before your dental visit, so symptoms will be most in control.
#2– Make your dental appointments as early in the morning as possible, as waiting time tends to be shorter in the mornings.
#3– Make several shorter visits to the dentist instead of longer ones. As Parkinson’s progresses, the patient’s response time to medications shrink and lessen the time they can respond to the demands of a dental exam.
#4– Take care of any invasive dental procedures that’s needed early on in the disease to reduce risk. Parkinson patients who have to be given anesthesia will generally have a longer recovery time than patients without the disease.
Every Parkinson patient should make a deliberate effort to be extra determined to stay on top of their dental hygiene.
Note: The tips in this article are for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for the advice of a doctor or dentist.
The Repercussions of Parkinson’s Disease in Oral Health;articlebase.com