May is National Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month

It may not be widely known, but Huntington’s Disease can have a strong impact on oral health. For a person affected by the disease, being able to maintain their own oral hygiene can become difficult, and finding a patient and understanding dentist in Wyzata can be a painstaking and tedious process. In honor of its awareness this May, we wanted to take time to recognize the disease, offering some insight into what it is and how to help a patient with Huntington’s Disease maintain optimal oral health despite some of the many challenges they may face.

What is Huntington’s Disease?

Huntington’s Disease is a hereditary neurodegenerative disorder that causes rapid and sudden involuntary movements, such as jerking or twitching, and can lead to cognitive decline and dementia. Huntington’s Disease is among the most common genetic causes for abnormal movements and can affect all ages.

So how does Huntington’s Disease impact oral health?

Due to the fact that people living with Huntington’s Disease have a hard time controlling their movements, it’s understandable that they are at high risk for developing poor oral health. Spams and uncontrollable movements can make brushing and flossing difficult for them to do on their own. Visits to the dentist can be equally as frustrating for the patient. With the side effects associated with Huntington’s Disease making proper oral care almost impossible, finding a dentist in Wyzata who truly understands the disease and its challenges it may pose is extremely important.

How can someone affected by Huntington’s Disease manage their oral health and trips to the dentist?

Wyzata patients with Huntington’s Disease do have options when it comes to their oral health. We should note, that people with the disease have teeth and gums that are no different from anyone else, but do seem to be at higher risk for gum disease because of the difficulties mentioned in the question above. If a person with the disease is having trouble brushing or flossing on their own, a family member or caretaker may need to step in and help. Sometimes dentists may suggest more frequent hygiene visits, or prescription strength fluoride for use at home. To make office visits more relaxed, dentists will at times use anesthesia to help calm the involuntary movements associated with the disease. Specific treatment options should be discussed between the patient and dentist.

Wyzata dentist, Dr. Bjorklund of Bjorklund Dental Designs is proud to offer hygiene services to patients of all types. Call us today to schedule an appointment for your dental needs!

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