Dental Diseases and Oral Health in Parkinson’s Patients
Parkinson's Disease Guide - As Parkinson’s disease progresses, many other symptoms and problems start developing, some due to the disease process itself and others due to the effects of natural aging. Of these, dental diseases and the problems associated with them need to be tackled as soon as possible so as to make the patient’s life more comfortable.
Causes of Dental Diseases in Parkinson’s Disease
•Motor problems such as tremor and rigidity may make it difficult for a Parkinson’s disease (PD) patient to brush their own teeth. Without proper assistance, a patient may be unable to tend to their daily dental hygiene regimen, which may lead to tooth decay.
•Certain PD drugs cause xerostomia or dry mouth. Lack of or diminished saliva in the mouth can cause tooth decay and periodontal (gum) diseases since saliva is necessary to fight off bacteria in the mouth which cause these dental problems.
•Necessary dental procedures may be difficult to undertake in a PD patient especially where muscle rigidity, tremor, or other types of agitation prevent the patient from remaining still in a dentist’s chair.
•Bruxism or tooth grinding, especially at night, is common in PD patients and can cause abnormal wear and tear of the teeth. It may also contribute towards temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction.
Behavioral changes in PD such as disinterest, apathy, forgetfulness and depression may make a PD patient take less interest in maintaining proper dental hygiene.