Dry Mouth

It is estimated that up to 30 percent of those over age 65 have xerostomia or dry mouth. This is caused by a decrease in the function of the salivary gland.

Though it’s not directly caused by aging, it can be the result of certain health conditions or medications used by older persons. Health conditions that can cause some degree of dry mouth are poorly controlled diabetes, depression, eating disorders, gastrointestinal esophageal reflux disease (GERD), cystic fibrosis, obstructions or tumors of the salivary gland, and poor nutrition. Many prescription drugs list dry mouth as a side effect and some urinary dysfunction therapies can cause it. Research has shown that topical treatments of fluoride can effectively prevent the tooth decay that often accompanies dry mouth or xerostomia.

Heart medications are the number one cause of dry mouth we seen in our office. Therefore, we recommend fluoride treatments for all our patients, adults included.

We recommend Biotene by Laclede, which has an entire line of products designed for help with dry mouth. Check the company’s website, www.biotene.net, for information about these products and to sign up for their newsletter.

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