Addressing Dry Mouth from Medications

May 13, 2024 |read icon 4 min read
A female holding and looking at a prescription bottle.

A side effect often overlooked in medication management is xerostomia, also known as dry mouth. Addressing dry mouth from medications is important as various prescriptions have the potential to diminish saliva production, leading to a condition that goes beyond discomfort. 

When it comes to oral health, saliva is a vital component — its reduction can have ramifications ranging from speech difficulties to heightened decay risk. Notably prevalent among seniors, the implications of dry mouth warrant attention during exams with dental care providers, as saliva deficiency is a precursor to multiple oral health complications. Dry mouth is also strongly associated with oral health-related quality of life.

Understanding saliva’s role in oral health: 

Saliva serves as the mouth’s first line of defense against microbial invasion. Enzymes like histatin have antibacterial properties are crucial in fighting off infections. It acts as a natural mouthwash, constantly clearing away food particles and neutralizing harmful acids that threaten tooth enamel. Saliva even has reparative qualities that can accelerate the healing of oral injuries, all while aiding digestion from the moment food enters your mouth.

Maintaining oral hygiene with dry mouth: 

Should you be experiencing dry mouth, it’s crucial to discuss it with your dentist at your next dental appointment. Early detection may help aid in prevention of severe complications, and lower incidence of dental cavities and fungal infection. A collaborative approach can yield a tailored strategy to sustain saliva production and ensure oral health maintenance.

In the meantime, personal care routines can mitigate the impact of dry mouth. Diligent brushing, focusing on gentle strokes and thorough gum line care, should be practiced twice daily, accompanied by daily flossing to preserve dental health.

You can take additional measures to help alleviate dry mouth, including:

  • Stimulate saliva secretion by chewing sugar-free gum.
  • Steer clear of tobacco products and alcohol, as they can exacerbate dry mouth.
  • Limit consumption of hard, dry, or sticky foods and those with high spice or acid levels.
  • Explore over-the-counter remedies designed to alleviate symptoms of dry mouth.
  • Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are essential in monitoring and managing oral health.
  • Opt for smaller bites during meals to facilitate easier chewing and saliva production.

By taking proactive steps and consulting with dental health professionals, managing medication-induced dry mouth can be less daunting, preserving your oral health and overall quality of life.

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