Having a dry mouth (also known as xerostomia) is a disorder that is seen frequently in geriatric patients. Most people believe that with aging it is normal to develop a dry mouth. This is incorrect. Dry mouth tends to affect geriatric patients because of the different types of prescription and non-prescription medications they are taking. One of the most common side effects with medications is dry mouth.
Why is saliva important in our mouths? Saliva is important to help begin the digestive process, balance the pH levels, and cleanse the mouth of harmful bacteria. Patients who suffer from dry mouth have a higher caries risk (patients are more likely to develop tooth decay), higher gingivitis risk, and tend to build up more bacteria such as plaque, and calculus (tartar).What can be done to fight dry mouth? Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist. Suck on sugar free hard candies or chew sugar free gum (preferably a gum which contains Xylitol). Ask your Dentist or Hygienist if a prescription toothpaste containing high amounts of fluoride is needed. It is recommended to avoid using alcohol containing mouth rinses which can dry out the mouth further. Biotene is a company which makes products specific to patients who suffer from dry mouth. The products include soothing mouth rinses, gum, gels, and sprays to moisten the mouth. If your dry mouth is caused by your medication, ask your physician if they would recommend lowering the dosage.
Great Lakes Dental Arts
8435 Station Street
Mentor, OH 44060