Impacts of Multiple Sclerosis on Dental Health

Photo of a young girl talking to an older lady.

How does Multiple Sclerosis affect the health of a person’s mouth and teeth?

  • People with MS experience a wide variety of symptoms such as pain, weakness, poor coordination, numbness of the lip and chin area, swallowing difficulties and forms of facial paralysis which can make cleaning teeth difficult.

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What can be done to keep the mouth and teeth healthy for a person with Multiple Sclerosis?

In addition to regular daily dental care for natural teeth or daily dental care for dentures you can:

  • For natural teeth:
    • To reduce fatigue while performing oral care, sit on a chair.
    • Use a lightweight standard or electric toothbrush that has a large grip.
    • Floss teeth once a day. If flossing becomes too difficult, a rubber tipped stimulator, special dental toothpicks, or small pointed toothbrush may replace flossing.
  • If you are having swallowing problems :
    • Do not use toothpaste or mouthwash, only a toothbrush moistened with water.
    • Prior to brushing, clean the mouth by swabbing with the corner of a soft moistened cloth.
      For dentures:
    • A denture brush with a wide handle will help the MS person to proved self care.

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What are common oral health problems experienced by people with Multiple Sclerosis?

  • Dry mouth - Some medications can make the mouth very dry. Moisturizing products available in a pharmacy will help ease the dryness.
  • Inflamed gums (gingivitis)   - Consult a dental professional. Gingivitis is usually due to a reduced ability to clean at the gum line area.

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How will Multiple Sclerosis affect my visits to my dental professional?

  • Professional dental visits may need to be shorter due to fatigue.
  • If there is limited mobility dental services may need to be brought to the bedside.

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