No comprehensive study has previously been published on orofacial function in patients with well-defined Parkinson's disease (PD). Therefore, the aim of this study was to perform an overall assessment of orofacial function and oral health in patients, and to compare the findings with matched control subjects. Fifteen outpatients (nine women and six men, 61-82 yr of age; Hoehn & Yahr Stages 2-4; and with motor impairment ranging from 17 to 61 according to the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, Objective Motor Part III) were examined in their 'on' state together with 15 age- and gender-matched controls. Orofacial function and oral health were assessed using the Nordic Orofacial Test, masticatory ability, performance and efficiency, oral stereognosis, jaw opening, jaw muscle tenderness, the Oral Health Impact Profile-49, number of natural teeth, and oral hygiene. Orofacial dysfunction was more prevalent, mastication and jaw opening poorer, and impact of oral health on daily life more negative, in patients with PD than in controls. The results indicate that mastication and orofacial function are impaired in moderate to advanced PD, and with progression of the disease both orofacial and dental problems become more marked. It is suggested that greater awareness of the special needs in PD patients and frequent dental visits are desirable to prevent dental diseases and decay and to support masticatory function.
© 2011 Eur J Oral Sci.