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Swallowing and Dental Challenges

Originally presented on January 14, 2014 
Michelle R. Ciucci, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, and Jane Busch, D.D.S.

Do you experience difficulty with swallowing or maintaining dental health? These issues could be related to Parkinson’s disease. Get the facts and practical tips you need by joining PDF, Dr. Ciucci and Dr. Busch for a one-hour PD ExpertBriefing on the topic.

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Goals for Participants:

  • Understand the potential swallowing difficulties related to Parkinson’s, including the onset, progression, and nature of these issues
  • Discuss how common treatments for Parkinson’s (surgical, pharmacological and behavioral) may impact swallowing
  • Learn common ways to evaluate and treat dysphagia, a swallowing disorder associated with Parkinson’s
  • Understand the dental challenges caused by the oral and facial effects of Parkinson’s disease
  • Explore practical ways to manage dental treatment in Parkinson’s and achieve a more effective home oral hygiene regimen


Michelle CiucciMichelle R. Ciucci, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Department of Surgery-Division of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, and a faculty member in the Neuroscience Training Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW).  

Her research interests focus on the sensorimotor control of disease voice and swallowing and the neurobiology of disease with an emphasis on Parkinson’s. She investigates neural substrates for normal and disordered cranial motor function and how interventions affect brain and behavior. In addition to this neuroscience work, Dr. Ciucci studies the complexities of swallowing function with high resolution manometry. The goal of this line of work is to better understand swallowing physiology and improve diagnosis and treatment of swallowing disorders.

At the UW, Dr. Ciucci runs an active lab, collaborates with many researchers at the UW and other institutions, and teaches two main courses: The Neural Basis of Communication (undergraduate) and Swallowing Disorders (Graduate-Master’s Speech-Language Pathology). She is also very active in the Dysphagia Research Society and a Board of Directors member of the National Foundation for Swallowing Disorders. In addition to these activities, Dr. Ciucci is President of the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association.

Dr. Ciucci received her doctorate from the University of Arizona and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Texas at Austin and then another in Otolaryngology at the UW.  

Dr. Jane BuschJane Busch, D.D.S., is a former practicing dentist and a fitness instructor in Cross Plains, WI, with a focus on Parkinson’s disease.  She currently teaches fitness classes at UW Health Sports Medicine Fitness Center (where she instructs the Parkinson’s Exercise Program), Harbor Athletic Club, Cross Plains Parks & Recreation Department, and Madison School and Community Recreation Center.

Dr. Busch worked in a private dental practice for nearly 17 years, leaving in 1999 to become Director of Education for the Academy for Excellence in Dental Technology, an academic training program for dental technicians through D&S Dental Laboratory, Inc. For several years, she also was a post-graduate dental instructor at Madison Area Technical College.

Dr. Busch frequently speaks to groups about dental health, exercise and dance in Parkinson’s. She is the author of “The Magic of Movement” Parkinson Exercise Manual and DVD.

She is a member of several professional societies including Omicron Kappa Upsilon National Dental Society, the American Dental Association, the Wisconsin Dental Association and the Dane County Dental Society. She serves on the Board of Directors and on the Exercise Committee of the American Parkinson Disease Association-Wisconsin Chapter. She is the Founder, CEO and Chair of the LIFE Foundation (Lifestyles Initiative for Fitness Empowerment).

She is a certified fitness instructor in Zumba Gold (2009), Zumba (2010), Parkinson Wellness Recovery (2011) and Dance for PD (2012). She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and went on to complete a Bachelor of Science in Dentistry and Doctorate of Dental Surgery at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry-Minneapolis.

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If you have questions about how to join this PD ExpertBriefing, by phone or online, please see our PD ExpertBriefing FAQ. 

Are you a health care professional seeking continuing education units? CEUs are provided via PDF's sponsorship of the American Society on Aging. The deadline to apply for CEUs for this seminar has now passed; applicants must view within 30 days of the LIVE seminar to receive their credits. Please note: it can take up to 30 days after the date of your application to issue your CEU credit. We ask that you wait 30 days after applying before contacting ASA or PDF about your certificate.

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This series has been made possible by educational grants from AbbVie, Inc. and Teva Neuroscience.