A common cause of cavities in older adults is xerostomia or dry mouth. Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. However, it is a side-effect in more than 500 medications, including those for allergies or asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pain, anxiety or depression, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. If you are experiencing dry mouth these are things you can try:
- Use over-the-counter oral moisturizers, such as a spray or mouthwash.
- Consult with your physician on whether to change the medication or dosage.
- Drink more water. Carry a water bottle with you, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Your mouth needs constant hydration.
- Xylitol products, sugar-free gums, and lozenges help stimulate saliva production.
- Get a humidifier to help keep moisture in the air.
- Avoid foods and beverages that can worsen the symptoms, such as coffee and alcohol.
At each appointment, please bring an updated list of medications. We would be happy to discuss options and products to help with dry mouth and prevent cavities.