Dry Mouth is a common concern of the aging population, with nearly 20% of the population experiencing excessive dry mouth. This is a common side effect of medications or a symptom of a medical condition.
Causes of Dry Mouth:
Blood Pressure Medications
Medications for Anxiety
Medications for Parkinson’s Disease
Medical Conditions that Cause Dry Mouth:
Autoimmune Disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome and Lupus
Treating Dry Mouth:
Use sugar free gum or mints. These products can help fight dry mouth by stimulating saliva production. Look for products that contain xylitol, which is a sugar substitute that can help prevent cavities. Suggested Brands include IceChips- Mint or Fruit flavors, Ice Breakers and Trident gum that contains xylitol.
Brush and floss daily. Proper oral health hygiene prevents plaque buildup – that’s the sticky layer of bacteria that promotes tooth decay and gum disease. When brushing, use a fluoride toothpaste to keep teeth strong.
Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated will increase saliva production and help keep you healthy. Drink water after eating, and avoid foods that stick to teeth such as raisins, crackers, candy, and pretzels.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Discuss dry mouth issues with your doctor or pharmacist and listen to their recommendations. They may suggest alternate medications that won’t cause dry mouth or products that can help fend off dry mouth.
Fluoride Varnish Treatments. This type of treatment is completed at your dental cleaning appointments. This will help with strengthening the enamel that often will break down in the presence of dry mouth.
Biotine and Xylimelts. Also help as adjunct treatment to combat dry mouth with allowing increased salivary flow.
For older adults, treating dry mouth is especially important as it can lead to problems with chewing, swallowing, and dentures. If you or an older adult that you care for struggles with excessive dry mouth, contact your dentist or physician right away to discuss treatment options.