Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is very common, especially among older adults. Most of us have had dry mouth at some point, especially during times of stress and nervousness. However, chronic dry mouth can be a serious issue. Saliva serves many purposes in the mouth, and when your mouth cannot produce an adequate supply of saliva, serious dental complications may arise.
Understanding The Effects Of Dry Mouth… And The Importance Of Saliva.
Saliva is what is used to wash away food particles and bacteria, neutralize acids in your mouth and aid in the absorption of minerals, like calcium and fluoride. With saliva, you’re at risk for significant tooth decay and cavities.
If you suffer from dry mouth, harmful bacteria can quickly build up in your mouth, leading to symptoms such as bad breath, a sticky and dry feeling, and significant tooth decay which can result in tooth loss.
The Causes Of Dry Mouth – Could Your Medication Be The Culprit?
The single most common cause of dry mouth is as a side effect of a variety of different medications. This may explain why dry mouth is so common among older adults. In fact, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 older adults suffer from xerostomia.
Over 400 medications can cause dry mouth, but we’ll just discuss the most common categories of medication here:
Antihypertensive drugs – Alpha and beta blockers used to treat high blood pressure can restrict saliva flow.
Antidepressants (TCAs & MOAIs) – Most antidepressants used today have dry mouth as a side effect, including Zoloft.
Antibiotics – Some antibiotics have properties that reduce saliva production.
Antihistamines – Antihistamines can inhibit neurotransmitters responsible for saliva production, resulting in dry mouth.
Narcotic pain medications – Opiates such as Oxycontin are known for reducing saliva buildup, causing dry, “cotton mouth” sensations.
Diuretics – Diuretics encourage your body to release moisture through urine. As your body releases moisture, the activity of your salivary glands is affected.
As we said, there are hundreds of medications that can cause dry mouth. That’ why it’s so important to know the side effects of each prescription, and to consult your primary care physician, specialist or pharmacist before starting a new medication to ensure you know what to expect.
Priti Naik DDS – Providing Expert General Dentistry In Vienna!
If you are having issues with dry mouth and believe your medication may be affecting your saliva production, come see Vienna family dentist, Dr. Priti Naik today. She can discuss your medications, as well as other potential causes of dry mouth, and provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan. If you’ve experienced tooth pain or decay due to dry mouth, don’t worry. Our practice also specializes in restorative dentistry!
Come visit our comfortable, patient-focused facility where we make you part of the family! We serve Vienna, Tysons Corner and Mclean, so call us for an appointment today at (703) 288-1800, or visit us in person at 8230 Boone Blvd #320, Vienna, VA 22182.