Everyone should practice good oral health care, but it is particularly critical for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Unfortunately, at the time of diagnosis, many people do not receive information about oral health problems that may arise later in the disease. Parkinson’s symptoms can complicate oral care at home and dental professionals need to be aware of their patient’s PD so that they can provide appropriate care at frequent intervals. In this podcast, Cameron Jeter of the dental school at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston describes what she calls the “Dreaded D’s” – dry mouth, drooling, dysphagia or swallowing difficulties, and deadly bacteria. Beyond discomfort and inconvenience, these problems can affect a person’s quality of life and can even present a risk to their life, for example, through choking or inhaling bacteria that can lead to pneumonia. Dr. Jeter offers some helpful suggestions to maintain oral care and avoid problems.
- Fact Sheet: Dental Health in Parkinson’s
- Expert Briefing: Swallowing and Dental Challenges (webinar)
- Living With Parkinson’s: Dental Health
- Expert Briefing: Non-motor Symptoms: What’s New? (webinar)
For all of our Substantial Matters podcast episodes, visit parkinson.org/podcast.
About This Episode
Released: January 29, 2019
Cameron Jeter, PhD
Dr. Cameron Jeter is an associate professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Dentistry. After her father developed parkinsonism, Dr. Jeter witnessed the real impact that drooling and dysphagia have on a patient and his or her family. Determined to improve life for patients affected by these oral symptoms, Dr. Jeter focused her laboratory’s research to understand and address the unique oral health needs of neurodegenerative diseases. At the intersection of neurology and dentistry, Dr. Jeter specifically investigates drooling and dysphagia in Parkinson's disease, and considers how these symptoms affect oral bacteria composition and risk of aspiration pneumonia.
For more insights on this topic, listen to our podcast episode “Importance of Early Detection of Swallowing Disturbances.”