Dr. Michael Schecter DDS August 2014
More and more patients are coming in complaining of mouth dryness or Xerostomia. Thirty percent of Adults in North American suffer from Dry mouth. This is a side effect of 400 commonly prescribed drugs.
One study reports that 80% of the most commonly prescribed medications can cause dry mouth including antidepressants, some types of beta blockers, some blood pressure medications, drugs used to prevent seizures and to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Even some types of over the counter antihistamines can cause dry mouth. It is important to recognize that our aging population is becoming ever more reliant on long term medication. This is a very important issue for elderly people and those that care for them.
Xerostomia can lead to a mouth full of cavities and gum disease, but it can also have a negative effect on your overall health, your enjoyment of food, your ability to speak and your social life. Unfortunately, restorations and crowns don’t last as long. Typical decay can present close to the gum line, exacerbating smaller solutions.
Dental tips for Xerostomic patients can also be incorporated into everyday hygiene for everyone.
Useful home tips
I recommend frequent sips of water. The best thing is to get a hydration packs; one of those water bags you see on hikers or bikers. And you just take small sips throughout the day. This will keep everything lubricated. Alkaline water would truly protect the teeth. Bathing them in water pH 9 is 102 more basic than ideal saliva.
Check your saliva and urine pH.
Lubricating the teeth during sleep is helpful. I have found ozone oil placed in silicone trays (bleaching trays) to be effective. Ozone does not further the breakdown of silicone. If the trays are acrylic or plastic, the ozone oil will increase the leaching of chemicals.
Remineralizing toothpaste can be very effective. Theodent is fluoride free and has a G.R.A.S. rating from the FDA. An isolated enzyme from cocoa is the central ingredient of this effective paste. Cavity Guard from Shecs is an iodine based product which kills Strep Mutans on contact. This is will help to reduce decay and it only needs to be applied bi monthly.
Useful dental office tips
Canary scan your teeth. This is an evaluation to determine the extent of decay in individual teeth. There is no radiation involved. Rather, thermography and light refraction provide a detailed report regarding the location and extent of decay. This can be used as a baseline to institute preventive measures as well as monitor success.
The Canary report will give an excellent indication as to the health of your restorations as well as minimize radiation long term. You can finally monitor your tooth balance. This is an important tool to ascertain if your teeth are deteriorating, maintaining, or remineralizing.
An antimicrobial/remineralizing program can be instituted in the office. An example of this can be spot ozone treatment and Sylc (remineralization) powder.
Treating the gums. A microscopic analysis can evaluate microbial and inflammatory levels in the mouth. Regular hygiene and evaluation including irrigation, scaling, and gum evaluations are critical. Remember that dry mouth leads to inflamed gums. This directly contributes to bone loss and gum disease.