As we get older, the quality and quantity of our saliva begins to diminish. “Saliva is what protects our mouth from the bacteria that causes cavities and gum disease,” says Dr. Bruce Fine of Fine Dental Care in Wayne. “This is one reason why someone might go decades without cavities and gum problems and then all of a sudden develop them.”
Combating and Managing Dry Mouth
So the question becomes, what can we do to help combat dry mouth as our saliva diminishes due to age? General symptoms of dry mouth will include dry, cracked lips or tongue, the overall feeling of dryness in the mouth, or foamy saliva.
As we age, flossing becomes even more critical, as does brushing. The use of fluoride, both home treatments and in-office professional strength treatments, are some of the best measures that can taken to prevent dental disease. The Biotene line of products is highly recommended. The use of sugarless chewing gums help to stimulate salivation, and the action of the gum against the tooth helps to clean your teeth of plaque.
If you have dry mouth, replace any mouthwash containing alcohol (which is extremely drying to the mouth) with one of the many alcohol-free washes on the market today.
There are certain prescription drugs that also lead to xerostomia, otherwise known as dry mouth or hyposalivation. You can alert your physician or dentist to the prescription drugs you’re taking, so that preventive strategies for “dry mouth” specific to your particular needs can be developed.
Enlist Professional Help
If you’d like to know more about dry mouth or how to keep your teeth and gums healthy as you age, you can call to schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Fine at his Wayne office “Fine Dental Care” at (973) 633-5440. Or for more information, visit www.finedentalcare.com.