Even though things may have gone very well for decades it is not uncommon to find that later in life we need to try a bit harder in order to get the same results as before. this can be due to a number of things but one of the greatest concerns is Dry Mouth.
- Main Causes - this can be due to a lifetime of smoking or heavy drinking but most often it is caused by some form of prescription medication. The worst offenders are antihistamines, anti-depressants, blood pressure medications, anti-inflammatories, narcotics, certain chemo drugs, and some inhalers.
- Main Problems - dry mouth can lead to seriously increased levels of tooth decay due to the fact that that acids produced by bacteria are not diluted as fast so they do more harm. Dryness in the mouth may lead to some patients sucking on candies to moisten their mouth but this only worsens matters.
TREATMENT FOR DRY MOUTH:
Unfortunately we generally can't treat the problem by removing the cause. In most cases the cause is medically necessary prescription drugs. There are four way in which we can treat dry mouth.
- Brush and Floss - increase in frequency of brushing and flossing up to 3-4 times per day.
- See your Hygienist - increase your visits to your hygienist to 3-4 time per year.
- Reduction in foods causing dehydration - coffee, cheese, and alcohol.
- Rinse Often - rinse more frequently with a commercial product like Biotene.
- Avoid Sweets - avoid using hard candies, lozenges, or candy in general to moisten your mouth.
Dry Mouth is very serious and it can destroy a perfectly good set of teeth in a very short amount of time.
OTHER PROBLEMS THAT MAY APPEAR:
- Arthritis - people with arthritis may simply lose so much use of their hands that they are not able to perform the usual hygiene protocol that kept them so healthy for so many years.
- Dementia or Depression - patients with dementia or even simple depression can become forgetful with their hygiene protocol and in addition their eating habits may change to snack foods which are unhealthy and high in carbohydrates. Poor oral hygiene and a high carb diet is a very serious combination. This can lead to extensive dental problems and will be extremely costly and time consuming to repair.
If any person sees any signs of these problems, just detailed above, in any senior they observe it is important to bring it to the attention of their family, friends, or caregivers. So that the help of their dentist can be dispensed immediately before irreversible harm is done.