Dry Mouth cause troubles for seniors and their oral health, but solutions and strategies are available that can help.
Many seniors experience the sensation of Dry Mouth in older age, often as a side-effect of taking medications for common conditions. As a result of the many health conditions and complications that can come as a part of growing older, many seniors find themselves taking multiple different medications. Unfortunately, the more medications, the higher the chance of experiencing Dry Mouth and the problems it can cause. In order to tend to oral health and the overall quality of life issues that can come as a result of dealing with the irritation and problems of Dry Mouth, it is important to have an understanding of the condition and how best to address it.
What is Dry Mouth?
Dry Mouth is exactly what it sounds like, a feeling of dryness in the mouth as a result of a lack of saliva. Saliva is important for the maintenance of proper oral health, so the absence of it can cause problems. Without saliva food particles don’t get washed away fully, teeth are less able to absorb the minerals they need to remain healthy, and there is often a greater degree of tooth decay because acids aren’t neutralized as quickly or efficiently without enough saliva. Dry Mouth can create various symptoms that can impact seniors’ level of comfort and their experience of their day-to-day lives. Some of the impacts of Dry Mouth are:
- Dry/Sticky Feeling in the Mouth
- Sore Throat
- Bad Breath
- Dry/Cracked Lips
- Mouth Sores
- Burning Sensation on the Tongue
- Difficulty Swallowing
- Unpleasant Taste in the Mouth
While the symptoms of Dry Mouth may not appear that severe or seem overly significant when compared to some of the other issues that seniors are dealing with daily, there are real risks to dental and oral health, and it is important to address the issue before serious infections or other problems take hold.
Addressing the Problem
Seeking help from a professional who can help to assess the situation and determine what needs to be done to address the issue is the first step in addressing Dry Mouth and the problems it has the potential to cause. On top of discussing things with a medical professional and heading their specific advice and recommendations, there are also some things that are easy to implement and have the potential to help manage symptoms and improve things.
- Avoid things that can dry out the mouth, such as tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, excess salt, and processed sugary foods.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Use a humidifier to add more moisture to the surrounding air.
- Clean teeth with fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash (avoid mouthwash with alcohol, which can be drying).
- Chew gum or suck on mints (sugarless of course, to avoid harming teeth).
- See the dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.
Dry Mouth is something that many seniors experience, but it doesn’t have to be something that they just accept and live with. Seeking help from medical professionals to discuss what might be causing Dry Mouth and what can be done to alleviate symptoms can help seniors to get a better handle on their oral health and improve their sense of wellbeing.