We’ve all been taught to brush our teeth twice a day. Oral health is essential for overall well-being and good quality of life. But for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) oral health is a particular concern as they commonly experience problems with the mouth and oral cavity, and some may have difficulty with dental hygiene.
Potential issues can be anything from symptoms like dry mouth, altered taste, and increased tooth decay to swallowing issues and sialorrhea (which is the medical term for drooling or poor control of saliva). As with so many aspects of life with PD, it can be helpful to educate yourself about common issues and symptoms so you can learn how to manage oral health problems should they arise.
The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) resources listed below provide a great introduction to these oral heath symptoms and concerns. We encourage you to share them with your personal PD community. We also encourage you to talk to your doctor as soon as you notice any issues or potential difficulties so proactive steps can be taken to lessen the impact of any of these symptoms and keep you safe and comfortable. Do not suffer silently or wait until the problem is very advanced before seeking help.
You can find these APDA resources and more downloadable documents, articles, videos, webinars, and expert-level resources about Oral Health and Parkinson’s Disease and Speech and Swallowing in PD on the Stanford Parkinson’s website.
Common Oral & Dental Problems in PD: This 2-page educational supplement discusses some of the most common oral and dental concerns like oral motor impairment, difficulty with dentures, and dry mouth, as well as tips for preventing tooth decay, improving oral hygiene, and more.
Drooling & Parkinson’s Disease: Drooling can range anywhere from a mild annoyance to a more severe issue that causes embarrassment and social isolation. In this 2-page fact sheet, learn about the causes and some effective options for improving drooling issues including medications as well as non-pharmacological approaches.
Swallowing Difficulties & Drooling Issues: This helpful blog post talks about drooling as well as the very common and concerning issue of swallowing difficulties. Learn how to determine if you or your loved one has a problem with swallowing, understand what a swallowing evaluation is and how it can help, find solutions to drooling, and more.