Multiple sclerosis can affect your oral health

  • Jan 20 , 2017

Many people may not realise that Multiple sclerosis (MS), which is a neurological disorder can affect their oral health as well. People with MS have difficulties in maintaining good oral hygiene and accessing care, which can increase the risk of dental health problems.

Studies show that people who have MS have high rates of tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. These problems can impact the overall health in a number of ways. In addition, when the mouth, gums, and teeth are not in good state, eating and digesting nutritious foods becomes more challenging and Poor oral hygiene may lead to infection, which can worsen MS symptoms.

One common side-effect of treating MS is dry mouth. Dry mouth usually goes along with tooth decay that is very difficult to treat. Dry mouth can also lead to halitosis or bad breath. The body needs to be able to deal with gum disease properly.

In immunosuppressed patients, gum disease progresses faster. They tend to lose teeth more quickly. Making adjustments to your routine is the best idea for good oral hygiene.

Here are ways to overcome typical MS challenges:

  • Wrap foams around the toothbrush handle to make it at ease to hold.
  • Try an electric toothbrush, but avoid those with circular brush heads, the Sonicare line of toothbrushes are good.
  • Ask for help from a family member or personal aide.

For pain:

  • Very soft toothbrushes may be more comfortable. Techniques are what makes tooth brushing effective, not the stiffness of the brush.
  • Talk to your doctor about medication to dismiss oral or facial pain.

For fatigue:

  • Sit down to brush.
  • Floss in bed.
  • Alcohol-based mouthwashes for bad breath are not appropriate for people with MS. Alcohol tends to dry out the mouth even more.
  • The dentist plays an integral role on the healthcare team of a person with MS, and regular dental appointments are crucial. If the patient is able to take care of oral sanitation well at home, then one visit every six months is fine.