Have you ever experienced the sensation of your mouth being dry? In the medical and dental field we call this xerostomia (zeer-oh-stomia). Does this experience occur on a regular basis?
If you do suffer from dry mouth, you are certainly not alone. As many as 400 medications list xerostomia as a side effect. Take a look at this list, to see if your medication is one of them.
Unwanted Consequences on our Teeth
Xerostomia is not only uncomfortable, but can have unwanted consequences on our teeth. The lack of saliva disrupts the pH balance in the oral cavity, often making it more acidic. Cavity causing bacteria thrive in acidic environments so your risk for decay is greatly increased. One of the ways your hygienist or dentist help fight these bacteria is by recommending a prescription fluoride toothpaste or fluoride trays to strengthen your enamel.
Drinking Enough Water Each Day
It’s important to note that fluoride will strengthen the enamel but does not ease the discomfort of having a dry mouth. Your hygienist can also offer suggestions for other products that have the benefit of keeping your mouth damp. Another way to help reduce dry mouth is by making sure you are drinking enough water each day.
Below we’ve put together a list of products that are available to help ease the discomfort of dry mouth.
Ill Effects of Xerostomia
Ask your dentist or hygienist about any of these products!
Xerostomia can also lead to ill effects such as not getting enough nutrients absorbed while eating. The moment food enters our mouth, it begins breaking down into nutrients from enzymes found in our saliva. If you are lacking saliva, food is not being broken down as much before entering the rest of your digestive system. This might be something to consider as you think about your diet and the role it plays in overall health.
According to the Academy of General Dentistry 90% of xerostomia cases are caused by the medications you take. If dry mouth from medications is something that concerns you or affects your daily life, you may want to consider a discussion with your physician about an alternate medication. As always if you have any questions, feel free to ask us at your next visit!
WSDHA Dry Mouth Medication List: http://wsdha.com/clientuploads/pdfs/Public%20Info/Seniors/DryMouthMedications.pdf