Monday, June 6, 2011

Dry Mouth

Q:  My dentist keeps finding cavities along the gum line around old crowns and bridges. He claims that it is due to this dry mouth problem that I have. What can I do about this?....H.J. in Hollywood

A:  Dry mouth is also known as Xerostomia.  Dry mouth is the most common side effects of prescription drugs (especially antidepressants and antianxiety drugs). Dehydration, smoking, cancer treatments, medications for blood pressure and allergies can cause dry mouth as well.

Dry mouth lead to frequent Candida infections, increased periodontal and peri-implant diseases, caries, and bacteria infection caused by the loss of protection from saliva.  Dry mouth also decreases the seal of soft tissue-borne removable prostheses and increases the risk of abrasions and sore spots.

Suggested management:
•  Saliva substitutes
•  Saliva stimulants – such as chewing gum
•  Frequent glasses of water throughout the day
•  Strict control of the diet to decrease cariogenicity
•  Avoidance of tobacco or alcohol products

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