Whether they are over-the-counter or prescription, medications have side effects, and many of these side-effects can impact your oral health. Of particular concern are medications that cause dry mouth, which can make you more vulnerable to tooth decay and poor oral health.
Dry mouth is a lack of adequate saliva in the mouth. Without enough saliva, the environment in the mouth is not able to cope as well with everyday things like food particles and acids. Saliva acts as part of the defense mechanism against gingivitis, tooth decay, and infections. Saliva bathes your mouth in a protective solution containing calcium ions, and saliva helps teeth to remineralize after being weakened by a little acid exposure. It helps wash away food that is stuck to the teeth, and can help keep plaque from quickly building up to levels that can cause gingivitis.
Hundreds of medications can cause dry mouth. Some categories of medications known to have this side effect include antidepressants, allergy & asthma medication, anti-anxiety drugs, blood pressure medication, antacids, & more…. including some vitamin supplements. If you feel you that you are experiencing dry mouth, talk to your pharmacist or doctor, or ask your doctor to prescribe a different medicate that does not cause dry mouth as a side effect, if possible.
If a change in medication is not advisable, a few things can help you cope with dry mouth. Avoid using toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulphate and mouth rinses that contain alcohol. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep the mouth hydrated. Reduce your caffeine intake since caffeine can aggravate dry mouth. Breathe through the nose, not mouth – air flowing in and out of your mouth will dry up saliva. Keep up with your brushing and flossing routine impeccably and get regular cleanings and check ups. Some patients can benefit from wearing custom made trays at night filled with special remineralizing products, or special prescription mouthwashes.
If you are dealing with dry mouth, please feel free to talk to our office. We stock dry mouth spay and you can also find them for purchase elsewhere. Dr Vancil and the Mall of Georgia dentistry team will be glad to make suggestion of things that might help keep you smiling.