Dry mouth is a serious concern for elderly oral health, and older adults face additional risk factors for this condition. In fact, nearly a third of people over age 65 struggle with this problem. If you or an older loved one develop this condition, it’s important to get effective treatment. Keep in mind that homebound care is an option for patients who are unable to travel to a dental office for treatment.
Causes And Consequences Of Dry Mouth
Dry mouth can have a number of causes, so it’s important to have a comprehensive evaluation by a dentist in order to get the treatment that will most effectively address the problem. Side effects of prescription medications are the most common cause of dry mouth. Dehydration can also contribute to dry mouth, so it’s important to drink enough fluids throughout the day.
Certain health conditions and their treatments, including head and neck cancers, HIV/AIDS, diabetes and Sjogren’s syndrome may also cause dry mouth.
This condition is so problematic because your saliva plays an important role in clearing away bacteria that can cause gum disease and tooth decay. When you don’t have enough saliva, bacteria can accumulate. Not only can oral diseases lead to tooth and bone loss, but they also cause inflammation in the gum tissue that appears to have some sort of connection to systemic issues. Dry mouth isn’t just a concern for your smile. It can affect your overall wellness, too.
Treatment For Dry Mouth
Fortunately, dry mouth can be treated. Your dentist may recommend artificial saliva products to replace the natural saliva missing from your mouth. Other lifestyle changes, such as drinking more water or chewing gum or eating sugarless candies, may also help, as can using a humidifier in your bedroom. Additionally, eliminating habits that are dehydrating, such as excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption or tobacco use, may also reduce the effects of dry mouth. Talk to your homebound care dentist to see which approaches make the most sense for your case.
Older patients are at greater risk for dry mouth and its accompanying effects on oral health, so be sure that you are doing everything possible to prevent this condition, including obtaining homebound care when necessary. Call our office to schedule an evaluation in the comfort of your home.