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Dry Mouth – The Dangers Of Dry Mouth And The Medications That Cause It

By david / August 21, 2011
Dental Health - The Dangers of A Dry Mouth From Medication Side Effects

Many Medications Cause Dry Mouth As A Side Effect

I found an interesting article that mentions there are over 500 medications that cause dry mouth.  The article went on to talk about how many people are taking these medications.   The numbers appear to be quite large.

Why Is Dry Mouth A Threat To Your Dental Health?

Your mouth is a wet place – and it needs to stay that way.  Saliva helps to repair tooth enamel via a process called remineralization.   The saliva can help to drive minerals back into the enamel.  Those minerals are lost when we eat acidic foods and beverages,  or have a lot of acid secreting bacteria living and reproducing under plaque.

Without the help of our saliva, a major impediment to dental disease such as cavities and gum disease is lost.   Without the natural process of strengthening our teeth, they are prone to more problems.

Another factor that few mention, but that I think is a very critical piece of information to consider is that a dry mouth is friendly to bacteria.  The reason why is that in an environment that is relatively dry without normal saliva, the bacteria grow much faster!  They like it dryer than normal.

In the case of anaerobic or ‘bad’ bacteria that cause dental disease, you can surmise how this would be a problem.  These ‘bad’ bacteria secrete acidic toxins that are harmful to both our teeth and periodontal tissue (gum and bone underneath) which support the teeth.

Without the inhibitory effect of saliva and the constant unchecked growth of bacteria, the mouth will likely become more acidic.  When this happens, the bacteria reproduce faster as they like an acidic environment.

Here is an excerpt from the article on dry mouth medications, found at modernmedicine.com

“More than 500 medications can contribute to oral dryness. Nearly half of all Americans regularly take at least one prescription medication daily, including many that produce dry mouth, and more than 90% of adults over age 65 do the same. Because older adults frequently use one or more of these medications, they are considered at significantly higher risk of experiencing dry mouth.”  —  link to the article

As you can see, there are many medications that have the side effect of creating a dry mouth.   One possibility is to ask your doctor if you can switch to a similar medication that does not cause this side-effect.   If you are not sure if your medicine is producing this problem, you can also ask a pharmacist.

Finally, if those courses of action are not viable for you, there are products designed to combat dry mouth.

Read more about them.

*This article speaks in general and experts may disagree.   If you have specific questions about your unique dental health situation, you should ask your doctor those questions.

About the author

david