Dry mouth is a problem we can have at any age, but this is something especially common among seniors. While many people will simply dismiss the problem, it can lead to some very serious oral health issues and should not be ignored.
What is Dry Mouth?
The medical term for dry mouth is xerostomia. While it is a side effect of some medical disorders, it can also occur as the result of medications. Unfortunately, many of the medications that are very common among seniors are known culprits of having dry mouth as a side effect. Among the most common medications to cause dry mouth are high blood pressure medicine, decongestants, and painkillers.
Dry mouth is a result of a lack of saliva being produced in the mouth. When this happens, tooth decay and gum disease are far more likely to happen. Saliva serves as a natural cleanser in the mouth, so without it, oral health problems can be significantly accelerated.
In addition to the dangers to your teeth and gum, there are several other problems often associated with this condition, such as a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, dry nasal passages, and problems speaking.
The good news is this issue can often be easily addressed with a quick dental visit. Your dentist can evaluate the situation to determine if the condition is a result of a medication or some other issue. If it is a result of a medication, he or she will often recommend seeing your primary care physician to change meds. If this does not clear it up, there are a few other things that can be done to alleviate the problem.
Sugar-free Candy and Gum – you obviously do not want to introduce more sugar into your diet, so sugar-free candy, lozenges, and gum can help address this issue. Sucking on a piece of candy or lozenge as well as chewing gum will stimulate the production of more saliva.
Keep Water Handy – you should already be drinking at least eight glasses of water a day but if you are suffering from dry mouth, this is even more so important. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times and take small sips throughout the day to ensure your mouth is always moist.
Oral Rinses – in addition to sipping water all day, it would be a good idea to use an oral rinse several times a day. Because saliva is used to naturally cleanse the mouth, oral rinses can help to duplicate this process and kill any bacteria building up in your mouth throughout the day.
If you are suffering from constant dry mouth, you should make an appointment with a Leominster MA dentist. Hallmark Dental is currently accepting patients and if you would like to learn more about our dental service or make an appointment, please contact us today!