What’s something that nearly every prescription drug commercial has in common? The side effects listed at the end of the ad. And there’s one drug side effect that is one of the very most common ones, which can also impact your smile. What is it? Dry mouth, also known as “xerostomia.” Xerostomia means that there is less saliva production by your salivary glands, causing your mouth to be drier than normal. Dry eyes might happen in conjunction with dry mouth.
Why is dry mouth a problem for dental patients? Because when saliva flow is diminished, it means your teeth aren’t naturally being lubricated or cleansed throughout the day. The result? A higher amount of tooth decay. And while dry mouth can’t be avoided in some circumstances (after all, you really do need your medication), there are some things you can do to limit the effects of dry mouth on your teeth, thereby limiting the amount of tooth decay that you experience.
Drinking water frequently throughout the day will help rinse and cleanse your teeth of acids and biofilm that deposit themselves along their surfaces. It will also lubricate your mouth so that you won’t be prone to as many sores or irritated tissue. After all, dry tissues can sometimes burn and make it painful to eat. Some types of mouthrinses are formulated for dry mouth. Although they have a slightly “slimy” texture, they keep the tissues well lubricated and make it easier to chew or speak. Chewing gum that contains xylitol can stimulate saliva production as well as fight plaque inside of your mouth!
Routine dental exams and checkups can help identify problems before they start. Your dentist may recommend a prescription strength or over the counter fluoride rinse to keep your enamel strong as well. The next time you visit your dentist, be sure to bring an updated list of any medications that you take, regardless of whether they are over the counter or prescriptions.
Posted on behalf of Group Health Dental
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