Prevent dry mouth

People have been led to believe that dry mouth is just another fact of growing older, and while more common among seniors, there are many conditions that can cause it at any age.

Dry mouth is the feeling that there is not enough saliva in the mouth, which can be caused by dehydration or certain medications, both factors common among older adults. The condition can make it difficult to chew, swallow, or even talk. Lack of saliva, which in the mouth is used to fight infections, can increase the risk of developing tooth decay or fungal infections.

For people who use dentures, not producing enough saliva can make wearing dentures uncomfortable because the saliva lubricates the dentures and keeps them from rubbing on the gums and causing damage and infections.

One of the main causes of dry mouth among older adults is medications like those taken for high blood pressure, depression, and bladder control problems. Diseases themselves—Diabetes, Sjögren’s Syndrome, and HIV/AIDS—can also contribute to dry mouth. Some radiation and chemotherapy can also affect the salivary glands or make saliva thicker, which causes the moth to feel dry.

People who think they might have dry mouth should, see a dentist or physician. He or she can try to determine what is causing it and offer treatment options such as changing medications or using artificial saliva, sold in most drug stores/pharmacies. Some people benefit from sucking sugarless hard candy or chewing sugarless gum.

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