Sunday, March 29, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Fighting the dry mouth epidemic

By
From page A16 | October 07, 2012 |

With the increase in the elderly population comes an increase in the prevalence of chronic conditions such as hypertension, arthritis and cancer. We are blessed today to have many treatment options that help us combat these conditions; however, some of the available options cause dry mouth, a serious side effect that cannot be managed simply by drinking more water.

Dry mouth occurs as a result of the abnormal reduction of saliva most commonly due to medications, in addition to radiation therapy in the head and neck region and some diseases. There are approximately 400 medications that cause dry mouth and almost each older adult is being treated with at least one of these medications.

According to a publication in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, an estimated 30 percent of the population older than 65 has dry mouth. This lack of adequate saliva impacts the quality of life. It causes sudden and severe dental decay, bad breath, burning sensation, and difficulty in chewing, swallowing and talking.

Although the side effect of medications is reversible, it is not possible for most patients to change their medications. Additionally, the damage caused by radiation therapy is permanent. Managing dry mouth then becomes more palliative — relieving the symptoms — and focuses on preventing potential complications rather than curing the condition.

Saliva has many benefits to our mouth. It is the most important natural defense of teeth. It neutralizes acid produced by plaque and introduced by food and contains minerals that repair teeth after acid attacks. It also contains enzymes that fight bacteria, washes food debris, and lubricates the mouth during chewing, swallowing and talking. Substituting saliva thus requires using multiple products.

Over-the-counter Biotene products are the most commonly recommended saliva substitutes; they are formulated to moisturize the mouth. They are alcohol-free and also free of sodium lauryl sulfate, a detergent that irritates dry mouth and found in regular toothpaste.

Biotene Oral Balance Gel has the longest moisturizing effect and is recommended for nighttime use, while Biotene mouthrinse is recommended for daytime use. Some Biotene products have bio-active enzymes that fight bacteria; however, they are not potent antimicrobials. Other non-alcoholic antimicrobial rinses such as Crest Pro-Health Multi-Protection and the Natural Dentist should also be used.

Additionally, using prescription fluoride gel strengthens teeth against cavities and chewing sugarless gum can stimulate salivary flow. Due to the lack of natural immunity, a strict regimen of regular brushing and flossing and good dietary habits are also as important as ever.

— Samer Alassaad is in private dental practice in Davis. Contact him at [email protected]

Comments

comments

Samer Alassaad

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Motive for murder-suicide remains a mystery

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Davis sewage to get new digs

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Where do Davis recyclables go?

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    UCD faculty receive lowest pay in the system

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1

    Human Relations Commission hosts Chávez celebration

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

     
     
    Davis Flower Arrangers meet Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    ‘Music as Medicine’ is radio show topic

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Friendship the topic on radio program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Forum

    Milt Prigee cartoon

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

     
    Some ‘survey’ …

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    These results were meaningless

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Survey not representative

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Answers on the green waste program

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

     
    A phone call could have fixed this

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Universities need more funding

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Mayor’s corner: Looking ahead to spring

    By Dan Wolk | From Page: B5 | Gallery

    A Little Respect for Dr. Foster

    By Nicholas Kristof | From Page: B5

     
    Father of the bride snubbed

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Which experiences count as ‘once in a lifetime’?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A8

     
    After a month of no TV news, I’m feeling much better

    By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A8

    Take a hike for your heart

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Sports

    Aggie softball splits doubleheader

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Davis softballers suffer setback, remain optimistic

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Republic stun Galaxy with repeated history

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Bad fourth quarter sinks boys lacrosse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Aggies’ walkoff win clinches series against Riverside

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Burns scores shootout winner to lift Sharks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    UCD roundup: Aggie women’s tennis dominates at home

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B10 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Millennials are changing our community

    By Rob White | From Page: A9

     
    With new owner, DAC will Get Fit

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Grant writing for non-profits workshop set

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, March 29, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8