At Maple Mews Dental we cater each dental appointment to our patients specific needs. We begin each dental hygiene appointment with a medical history update. We are often questioned why we would need to know this information.
Many people are affected by Xerostomia or Dry mouth syndrome and aren’t even aware that they have this condition! Dry mouth is caused when the salivary glands in the mouth don’t make enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. Having proper saliva flow is important because without it you are more likely to develop tooth decay, gum disease, and mouth sores or thrush.
There are many causes of dry mouth most common being medications or a combination of medications. In fact: there are hundreds of medications including over the counter drugs that list dry mouth as a side effect. The most common type of medications with this side effect include drugs used to treat depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, as well as some antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants and pain medications.
Along with medications, many health conditions can also cause dry mouth and directly effect your oral health. These health conditions include diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, or autoimmune diseases, such as Sjogren’s syndrome or HIV/AIDS.
Patients who are under going Cancer treatments can also expect to suffer from dry mouth. Chemotherapy and radiation can directly affect the salivary glands and cause temporary or permanent decreased saliva production.
Other causes of dry mouth can include the use of tobacco, cannabis, alcohol and recreational drugs. Methamphetamine use can cause severe dry mouth and damage to teeth, this is a condition also known as “meth mouth.”
As Dental Health professionals we have solutions and products that we can suggest that can greatly improve saliva flow and help with dry mouth syndrome.
Next time you are in the dental chair don’t be taken back by us questioning your medications or health history. By knowing your whole health history, we can better manage your oral care and specialize your homecare to fit your personal needs.
Stephanie Bays, RDH , Maple Mews Dental