Dry Mouth

Published on April 16, 2012 by

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a condition that is frequently encountered with the use of certain systemic medications, such as cyclic antidepressants. The major effects of xerostomia are increased oral diseases (particularly caries), speech dysfunction, difficulty in chewing and swallowing, and altered or diminished taste acquity.
Individuals with xerostomia and pre-existing periodontal disease are also at increased risk for developing root surface caries. Root surface caries can occur when there is a loss of supporting bone around the necks of the teeth. The neck areas of the teeth are more prone to caries development because the tooth structure is much softer there when compared to the hardness of enamel. Therefore, root surface caries can progress much faster than enamel caries and can be more detrimental to the tooth’s health.
Nutritionally, individuals with mouth dryness have been shown to have significant deficiencies in fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, iron, calcium, and zinc. Treatments may include the use of salivary substitutes and stimulants, ongoing dental treatment (i.e., fillings) and prevention.
Your physician may also be able to help by reviewing your medications and possibly eliminating or substituting drugs that have an anticholinergic effect. Xytitol, contained in sugarless chewing gums has been shown to stimulate salivary flow.

Filed under: Prevention

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