A number of medications, including decongestants, asthma medications, anxiety drugs, and even pain killers list dry mouth as a common side effect. If you are taking one of these medications, it's important to realize that dry mouth is not just an annoyance you'll have to deal with. It's a side effect that can lead to mare dangerous problems – like tooth decay and gum disease – if you're not careful. To keep your teeth and gums in good shape when taking a drug that causes dry mouth, follow these tips:
Keep water with you and take sips often.
When you have a healthy level of saliva production, the saliva is constantly helping to rinse bacteria out of your mouth so it can't cause excessive tooth decay and gum disease. But when you have dry mouth, the bacteria don't get rinsed away properly. You can help make up for this deficiency by keeping plain water with you at all times and taking sips often throughout the day. Swish the water around in your mouth before swallowing for best results.
Use a moistening mouthwash.
There are certain mouthwashes that are made specifically for patients with dry mouth. They contain ingredients that help stimulate your salivary glands and boost saliva production. Look for one of these rinses at your local drugstore. Then, use it according to the instructions on the label. Usually, you'll be instructed to use it twice per day after brushing your teeth.
Chew sugar-free gum.
Chewing on sugar-free gum throughout the day can help keep your saliva production up. Stock up on a few different flavors so you don't get bored, and keep a pack with you at all times so you remember to chew.
Get regular dental checkups.
It's important for everyone to get regular dental checkups – but it's even more important for someone who is suffering from dry mouth. If you do develop some decay or gum disease, it's essential to catch it quickly before it has a chance to get worse. Your dentist can tell you how often to return for checkups, but in most cases, you'll need to come in about every 6 months. Make sure you tell your dentist you are taking medications that cause dry mouth so they can be particularly on the lookout for related issues.
Dry mouth doesn't just make your mouth feel cottony and make it tough to eat pretzels. Take good care of your mouth with the tips above, or it may also lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
For more information, contact Eagle Mountain Family Dental or a similar location.
Caring for an elderly parent tends to be tough enough without the added stress of dealing with dental implants or dentures. But, the prospect is not the end of the world—there are many things you can do to ensure that your parent's dental health is not compromised without having to spend a lot of personal time doing the care yourself. Between working with the right dentist, hiring a service provider for part time work, and giving your parent the tools he or she needs to care for his or her own dental health at home, you'll find that dental health for your loved one isn't so tough or time consuming after all. Hopefully you are able to get the support and information you need right here.