Dry Mouth....battling a pesky side effect

Dry Mouth...battling a pesky side effect

Saliva Has Many Functions

One of the potentially annoying side effects of many of the prescription drugs that people take is dry mouth. This occurs due to the action of these drugs on the salivary glands, which are moisture producing glands in our mouth that produce saliva, the fluid that helps digest our food.

Saliva does several things besides aiding digestion. It also helps clean and protect teeth from decay and enables us to speak clearly.

If you develop dry mouth, you can expect several things to occur:

1. Eating and talking may be difficult and you may experience difficulty wearing dentures.

2. Infections may develop in your mouth, so watch carefully for developing sores so they can be treated immediately.

3. Since saliva helps clean and protect the teeth, a reduction in saliva can speed the development.

Minimize Your Discomfort

If you experience dry mouth, your response to it will be critical. There are some steps you can take to increase your comfort and minimize the side effects. They include:

1. Using excellent brushing and flossing techniques after every meal.

2. Use of a fluoride gel to make your teeth stronger.

3. Use of a prescribed antibacterial rinse to reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth.

4. Artificial saliva will help keep your mouth moist, prevent sores and reduce tooth decay.

If you are experiencing dry mouth, it is important that you communicate this to your dental team. Although most people remain healthy, with two dental cleanings a year, you might need anywhere from three to six cleanings annually to remain in optimum condition. Your dentist can also prescribe needed fluoride treatments, artificial saliva and special mouth rinse for you.