The Importance of Oral Health in Parkinson’s Disease


Oral health is essential for everyone, but people living with Parkinson’s disease need to pay particular attention to their mouth, teeth and gums to limit any problems.

MORE: Three causes of psychosis in Parkinson’s disease

According to the National Parkinsons Foundation, Parkinson’s disease can affect oral health in a number of ways. As facial muscles become impacted by the condition, it can change the way a person speaks and chews, which can be compounded if the patient also has missing teeth or toothaches.

Not being able to chew food properly because of dental problems can lead to an increased risk of choking as some may experience problems swallowing larger pieces of food. Aspiration (inhaling particles of food or drink) could also lead to the development of dangerous lung infections such as pneumonia.

If the patient is also taking medications to suppress the immune system for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, these may increase the risk of infection if they have any dental problems such as cavities, inflamed gums, loose teeth, or abscesses.

Regular visits to the dentist, as well as twice daily brushing and flossing (or properly cleaning dentures), will help to eliminate most dental problems.

MORE: Seven hand exercises to help Parkinson’s disease patients

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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  1. Samuel A Meisenholder Veteran (Donna Meisenholder Caregiver ) says:

    This is exactly what I needed to have , My husband is designated as :Catastrophically Disabled with Parkinsons Disease ,Heart Disease , Osteo Arthritis. He is Cat 4 for VA Medical Care which states the he is eligible for Dental Care IF it effects any medical treatment he is having with VA .
    It certainly does …he is already choking more from several missing teeth . This is the exact support article I need . I cant ]thank enough .I am seeking a retesing of his choking test .But getting resistance with VA Dental Dept .

  2. Samuel A Meisenholder Veteran (Donna Meisenholder Caregiver ) says:

    I welcome any and all info on this topic . I am having an outside VA Dentist also evaluate . Need one who understands Parkinsons if you know of any . Unbelievable timing to receive your article . Donna

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