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  • Writer's pictureEngage PT, OT, SLP Therapy and Wellness

Wash Out That Dirty Mouth! The Importance of Good Oral Care

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

If your mother ever threatened to wash out your mouth with a bar of soap, she was actually on to something… we all have foul mouths. The human mouth is filled with bacteria. The literature actually indicates that there are more than 700 different species of bacteria that can be found in the mouth. Much of this bacteria is good, but some of it is bad and has been directly linked to different disease processes.

When you have health changes and don’t practice proper oral hygiene, the bad bacteria can take over. Every time we swallow, we swallow some of the bacteria that is in our mouth. This becomes a concern if you have an impaired swallow and are actually aspirating some of the bad bacteria that is in your saliva, meaning that the bacteria gets into your lungs. This can cause aspiration pneumonia. Unfortunately, aspiration pneumonia is a leading cause of death in individuals with Parkinson’s Disease. However, you can help prevent this by having good oral care! Make sure that you brush your teeth (don’t forget your tongue) and floss frequently throughout the day. Also, make sure to have regular dental checkups/cleanings.

Interested in learning more about how good oral care can prevent the risk for aspiration pneumonia in PD?

Click here to access a podcast interview with Kaila McCarthy CCC-SLP featured on The Parkinson’s Vitality Podcast.

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