Xerostomia (Dry mouth) and Oral Health Complications
Xerostomia is a widespread condition affecting 17-29% of the population. Although most patients take the presence of saliva for granted, a decrease in salivary volume can cause significant morbidity and impact on the oral health of patients as well as reduction in the patient’s quality of life.
The most frequent cause of xerostomia is medication use. Dry mouth is a common and significant adverse effect of many commonly prescribed medications. More than 400 medications cause dry mouth symptoms! Many patients feel that dry mouth is a minor nuisance, but the reality is the condition has a significant impact on both oral and overall health. The most common oral complications include halitosis (bad breath), periodontal disease, dental caries (cavities) and Candidiasis (fungal/yeast infection of the mouth).
There are a number of over-the-counter(OTC) and prescription products for the treatment of xerostomia. The main categories of agent are saliva stimulation, moisture replacement and products to improve overall dental care.
Although dry mouth is an oral health issue, its management will commonly require the expertise of the family physician.With medication-induced xerostomia being the most common cause of the condition, family physicians may ask dental health professionals to determine if changes in a patient’s medication regimen could improve the condition.
The treatment of xerostomia can be managed with collaborative care between the dentist and the physician.
Talk to your doctor and/or dentist about your dry mouth at your next re-care examination.
Dr Luda Ushakova and Your Oral Health Care Team