Consistent dental maintenance helps prevent cavities and gum disease, but Parkinson’s disease (PD) movement symptoms can interfere with one’s ability to maintain oral hygiene.
Ease Home Dental Care
These tips can help you navigate PD-related dental challenges:
- Use a toothbrush with a large-handled grip and soft bristles. A small brush head reaches the corners better. To make the toothbrush easier to grasp, place the handle inside a bike handlebar grip or tennis ball or use an electric toothbrush.
- Aim to brush after every meal for two minutes, also brushing the tongue. It is best to brush one-handed, using the stronger side of the body. If it is not possible to brush after a meal, simply rinsing the mouth with water will help.
- Floss. This may mean getting help from a caregiver. For fluoride rinses, if swishing and spitting are difficult, the dentist may recommend a brush or sponge applicator. Antimicrobial mouth rinses can also be applied with a brush.
- Waterpiks or pre-loaded flossing aids may be also helpful options for some.
Simplify denture care:
- Remove dentures after each meal, brush and rinse them.
- Brush or clean them in a solution at night.
- Handle, insert or remove dentures over a soft surface or water-filled sink so they will not break if dropped.
- Suck on sugar-free hard candy or use artificial saliva substitutes to help regulate saliva production. Saliva aids denture retention.
- Discuss the benefits of implants with your dentist.
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco and spicy and acidic foods.