More MS news articles for September 2002

Multiple sclerosis and oral care

Dent Update 2002 Jul-Aug;29(6):273-83
Fiske J, Griffiths J, Thompson S.
Guy's, King's and St Thomas' Dental Institute of King's College, London.

Multiple sclerosis is a complex neurological condition affecting sensory and motor nerve transmission.

Its progression and symptoms are unpredictable and vary from person to person as well as over time.

Common early symptoms include visual disturbances, facial pain or trigeminal neuralgia and paraesthesia or numbness of feet, legs, hands and arms.

These, plus symptoms of spasticity, spasms, tremor, fatigue, depression and progressive disability, impact on the individual's ability to maintain oral health, cope with dental treatment and access dental services.

Also, many of the medications used in the symptomatic management of the condition have the potential to cause dry mouth and associated oral disease.

There is no cure for multiple sclerosis, and treatment focuses on prevention of disability and maintenance of quality of life.

Increasingly a multi-disciplinary team approach is used where the individual, if appropriate his/her carer, and the specialist nurse are key figures.

The dental team plays an essential role in ensuring that oral health impacts positively on general health.