Living with Multiple Sclerosis: How to Maintain Good Oral Health

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) can cause muscle weakness and facial paralysis which makes performing the coordinated movements required to brush and floss your teeth difficult. If you are unable to maintain a good dental hygiene routine, plaque and tartar will build up, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Some medications which are used to treat MS can cause you to develop a dry mouth, which creates the perfect environment for harmful bacteria to thrive. Below are some top tips which will help you to look after your dental health while living with MS.

Switch to Complex Carbohydrates

The harmful bacteria in your mouth feed on food particles which become trapped between your teeth and gums. Refined carbohydrates such as bread, breakfast cereal and pasta, are easily broken down by bacteria, which increases the amount of acid in your mouth, leading to tooth decay. By switching to complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, which don't begin to break down until they enter your stomach, you can reduce the amount of food that is available to the harmful bacteria on your teeth and gums.

Start Using Xylitol

By reducing your intake of sugar, you can minimise the level of bacteria in your mouth. Xylitol is a popular alternative to sugar which is made using plant fibres. Oral bacteria do not feed on Xylitol, which inhibits their growth. Xylitol is available in a chewing gum, mouthwash or a soft mint form. Using the chewing gum version of Xylitol has the added advantage of encouraging the production of saliva in your mouth, which helps to protect your teeth and gums from damage.

Consider Fluoride Gel

If you are struggling to clean your teeth properly, investing in fluoride gel can offer a solution. The gel can be easily applied with one finger. Gently rub the fluoride gel onto your gums and teeth and leave it overnight. The gel will form a coating on your teeth and gums, helping to protect them from decay. Fluoride gel will also help to repair damage caused to your teeth by encouraging the process of remineralisation. Your dentist should be able to prescribe fluoride gel for you.

While MS can make it difficult to maintain your oral hygiene routine, by making a few changes to your lifestyle and working with your dentist, you can help to reduce the risk of developing tooth decay or gum disease. If you are concerned about the impact MS is having on your dental health, contact a professional like those found at TLC Dental.