12620 Clarksville Pike
Clarksville, MD 21029


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Posts for: January, 2014

Have you ever watched a television commercial for a new drug or medication, and just zone out as dozens of potential side effects are listed off? Well, something such as "increased risk of heart attack" is likely to catch your attention and snap you back into focus. But "dry mouth" certainly won't. Yet, dry mouth caused by medication is actually a common, and potentially severe, side effect of many popular drugs.Dry Mouth Due to Medications

It's not just a small discomfort issue. Dry mouth can directly lead to increased, and serious, tooth decay, as well as painful and severe mouth sores and infections. Maybe your attention is perked up a bit now.

These issues occur because of the important roles that regular saliva production has for your oral health. Saliva helps to fight off bacteria and tooth decay, aid in digestion, talking and swallowing, and keep the exposed tissue throughout your mouth properly hydrated. In addition, dry mouth is also known to cause bad breath, and other issues such as cracked lips.

Worse, as many as 500 different medications, from antihistamines to blood pressure medicine and just about everything in between, may cause dry mouth in certain individuals.

Not only that, but almost half of all adults take at least one daily prescription medication. And 90% of adults over the age of 65 do so, and they're the population most at risk for chronic dry mouth. The American Dental Association estimates that 25 million American adults have inadequate saliva production or composition.

So what can you do if you've been experiencing dry mouth?

The first step is to see if it's possible that medication you're taking is the cause of the problem. Read about the side effects of the medications you're using, and consult with your doctor to see if that's a likelihood, if there is alternative medication to take, or if you can try to go off the medication or not.

You can also self-manage your dry mouth with simple strategies such as increasing your fluid intake and chewing on sugarless gum. Take frequent sips of water, or even chew on ice chips. Additionally, avoid beverages which may make dry mouth worse - including alcohol, and anything with caffeine or carbonation.

There are also saliva substitutes and oral moisturizers which may be available.

If you have any questions or you'd like to schedule an appointment to discuss dry mouth and its effects on your oral health, and possible treatments, then please call our office directly at 410.531.5639.