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Dry Mouth Linked to Prescription and Over the Counter Drugs
Date:7/9/2009

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Out of the nearly 500 general dentists who responded, 89 percent believe prescription medications are the primary contributor to dry mouth. Aging, dehydration and salivary gland disease were also cited as major contributors. The survey of AGD members also revealed that:

  • Approximately two-thirds consider dry mouth to be a very serious condition, as it relates to the promotion of tooth decay;
  • Approximately 68 percent say constant thirst is the most common symptom communicated by patients; 44 percent say patients have difficulty eating, swallowing or speaking;
  • More than 92 percent report that patients attempt to increase salivary production by drinking water; less than 58 percent say patients try taking over-the-counter saliva substitutes, chewing sugar free gum, or sucking on hard candy; and
  • More than 60 percent of those surveyed consider diagnosing a patient with xerostomia after he or she exhibits or reports symptoms of dry mouth.

Xerostomia can be a side effect of a variety of diseases and medical conditions, including HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, Sjogren's syndrome, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, cystic fibrosis, stroke and mumps. Certain cancer treatments, nerve damage, dehydration, smoking and chewing tobacco have also been connected with dry mouth.

"It's not always easy to diagnose xerostomia because of the subjective nature of the condition," said Gigi Meinecke, DMD, FAGD. "That is why it's so important for patients to discuss symptoms with their dentist, even if they do not experience them on the day of the office visit."

The AGD reports a number of actions dry mouth sufferers can take to alleviate the condition:

  • Brush and floss twice a day
  • Chew sugarl
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SOURCE Academy of General Dentistry
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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