Stuffy nose? Take a pill. Feeling sad? Take another pill. Trouble sleeping? Want to lose weight? Trouble breathing? Loose stools? Tense muscles? Pill, pill, pill and pill. All of these medications are likely to have a side effect in common. The side effect common to over 400 medications is dry mouth or xerostomia. That makes these helpful medications very bad for oral health.
Spit or saliva is a very complex mixture of proteins such as antibodies and ions such as calcium. Saliva fights infection and even helps to keep teeth hard in the face of decay causing bacteria. People who have little or no saliva are much more prone to oral infection and tooth decay.
Some people have xerostomia without realizing it. Symptoms include thirst, a sticky feeling, loose dentures and a change in taste. People with xerostomia often develop a yeast infection of the mouth, called candidiasis. That infection may appear white, but often the lining of the mouth will appear red and irritated. Candidiasis may cause a burning sensation. This infection can be intransigent, but there are effective treatments available.
There are a host of treatments for dry mouth, but no cures. When a particular medication causes xerostomia, it is best to stop the medication quickly or switch to a different treatment.
If that is not possible, drink more water. Stimulate salivation by chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free hard candies. Use artificial saliva and specialized products such as toothpaste, mouth rinse and even chewing gum to ease the dry feeling and prevent infection.
There are medications that increase the output of salivary glands. It takes weeks for these medications to develop their full effect. Their major side effect is an increase in perspiration. Since these medications may interact with the medications that cause xerostomia, it is important for the dentist, physician and pharmacist to check for interactions.
Every patient who has dry mouth should increase their use of topical fluoride. Fluoride rinses and high concentration fluoride toothpaste are available without a prescription. Dentists can provide rubber trays for the patient to use to apply fluoride gels at home on a daily basis. Dentists and dental hygienists can provide stronger applications of fluoride varnish or gels as frequently as once a month.
There are many other ways that physical health and oral health are connected. Patients should be sure to discuss changes in their health status with their dentist at every checkup and more often as needed.
The information in the article is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate medical professional.
Dr. David Leader is a copywriter for Yodle Local, a business directory an online advertising company. Find more teeth whitening tips and info at Yodle Local. Medications that Improve Health and Harm Teeth.
Article Source: Medications that Improve Health and Harm Teeth