Most adults mistakenly believe that they should no longer be at risk for cavities. A relatively new problem that we are seeing in our dental practice patients is dry mouth. It can be caused by many medical conditions, but we see the biggest issue with medications people are taking.
Over 400 of some of the most commonly prescribed medications will cause significant issues with dry mouth.
Dry mouth can have a big impact on your ability to eat and speak, and it unfortunately also puts you at a very high risk for cavities that can develop rapidly. It is not uncommon to have a patient who has been coming in for years with a healthy mouth return for their next routine dental check up six months later with multiple cavities. The culprit? They have been placed on a medication that causes extreme dryness in their mouth.
Because of this, we have become much more proactive in recommending in office and at home fluoride treatments for our adult patients to aid in preventing cavities. We use fluoride routinely for kids and are now finding it is just as important in adults.
If you have dry mouth we recommend you try the following steps.
- Inform us of any changes in your medical history and keep us up to date on medicines you are taking
- An in-office fluoride treatment at all teeth cleaning appointments
- A prescription fluoride toothpaste for daily home use
- The possibility of more frequent teeth cleanings and exams in order to monitor you more closely and catch any problems early
- Do not sip on sugary beverages or suck on sugared candies or mints. Also avoid the sugar free sweetener sorbitol.
The good news is that we can manage many patients’ dry mouth with changes to their lifestyle and habits. At your visit we will provide you with an extensive handout of recommendations to help alleviate some of your symptoms and give you suggestions to modify your daily routine.