Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a common problem among Parkinson’s patients. This condition occurs when the salivary glands in the mouth do not produce enough saliva to keep the mouth moist. Dry mouth can cause a variety of symptoms, including difficulty swallowing, a burning sensation in the mouth, and an increased risk of tooth decay.
There are several reasons why dry mouth may occur in Parkinson’s patients. One of the most common is that the disease can affect the nerves that control the salivary glands, leading to a decrease in saliva production. Additionally, some Parkinson’s medications can cause dry mouth as a side effect.
Dry mouth can be a significant problem for Parkinson’s patients, as it can make it difficult for them to eat and speak. It can also increase the risk of tooth decay and other oral health problems.
Fortunately, there are several steps that can be taken to help Parkinson’s patients manage dry mouth. One of the most important is to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Additionally, it is important to avoid foods and drinks that can dehydrate the body, such as alcohol and caffeine.
Another way to help manage dry mouth is to use saliva substitutes. These products, which can be found at most pharmacies, mimic the function of natural saliva and can help to keep the mouth moist. Some examples of saliva substitutes include artificial saliva sprays and gels.
Additionally, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene. This includes brushing and flossing the teeth regularly, and using a mouthwash to help kill bacteria. Regular dental checkups are also important for Parkinson’s patients, as dry mouth can increase the risk of tooth decay and other oral health problems.
It is also important for Parkinson’s patients to speak with their doctor about their dry mouth symptoms. Depending on the cause, the doctor may recommend a change in medication or refer to a specialist.
In some cases, dry mouth can be a side effect of Parkinson’s medication. If this is the case, the doctor may recommend switching to a different medication or adjusting the dosage. In some cases, a combination of different medications may be necessary to manage dry mouth symptoms.
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Nick Pernisco is the Parkinson’s Warrior, a person with Parkinson’s who has dedicated his life to helping others with Parkinson’s. Get the Parkinson’s Warrior book here. Join the discussion on Facebook.