As individuals age, they may begin noticing a second round of cavity prone years.  Some elderly register surprise as they experience an increase in dental caries, seemingly overnight.  The homebound dentist NYC loves treats this issue often in elderly patients.  Why is this?  Is this simply an unfortunate result of aging?

You may be surprised to find that this often results from dry mouth.  Dry mouth is a common side-effect in more than 500 medications that are taken for various disease or ailments exhibited in greater intensity during the later years.  Medications taken for diseases such as asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, pain, anxiety or depression can all produce a dry mouth.

How does a dry mouth cause cavities?2_RB_Mobile_Dentist_2

Saliva acts as a natural cleanser for our teeth and mouth.  It contains properties that help fight plaque causing bacteria.  The buildup of plaque and the presence of the bacteria work together to erode the enamel on the teeth, causing tooth decay.  Without saliva to consistently cleanse the germs present in the mouth, one will experience an eventual increase in dental caries.  Those that suffer from dry mouth must take extra caution to ensure good oral health as they age.  

What can you do about it?

In some cases, your doctor may be able to prescribe a different medication for your condition which may decrease your dry mouth symptoms.  However, if that is not possible, there are still steps you can take that can protect your teeth from further decay.

  • Tell Your Dentist – Make sure that when you see your geriatric house call dentist in NYC, you make her aware of the medications you are taking and the resulting dry mouth.
  • Use Oral Moisturizers – You can receive over-the-counter oral sprays or mouthwashes that can increase the moisture level in your mouth.
  • Drink More Water – Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.  With this condition, your mouth needs constant lubrication.
  • Stimulate Saliva Production – Use sugar-free gum or lozenges to increase salivary flow.  You may be able to find some products with the natural sweetener Xylitol, which aids in cavity prevention.
  • Run a Humidifier – Adding moisture into the air will also increase the moisture readily available for your body.
  • Avoid Certain Foods – Foods such as coffee, alcohol, soft drinks, and acidic fruit juices will only make the problem worse.  Avoid these choices whenever possible.
  • Ask for a Fluoride Treatment – Your homebound dentist in NYC is able to provide fluoride gel or paste treatments in order to further fortify your teeth.  

To find out more about what the best homebound dentist NYC offers can do for your oral health as you age, visit here or call at 917.826.6278.

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