Dry Mouth/Xerostomia (lack of saliva) and how it affects oral health in the elderly
- Xerostomia/Dry mouth is most commonly referred to as dry mouth.
- This condition is mostly unnoticed among the elderly population as the elders may not understand the lack of saliva level in the mouth and are unable to explain it to the dentist.
- A thorough inspection of the individual’s mouth will help the doctor in the detection of xerostomia.
- Without the presence of saliva to cleanse oral surfaces, the risk of oral diseases increases with the buildup of bacteria and food particles that remain in the oral cavity.
- Certain types of medications may also contribute to xerostomia /dry mouth.
- Symptoms may include cracked lips, bad breath, and sticky saliva.
- Individuals with dry mouth should avoid spicy foods and sugary drinks.
- Various conditions like medications, aging, cancer treatment, injury, surgery, tobacco, and dehydration, dry mouth condition can be seen.
- Some illnesses and habits can also be the reason for dry mouth like anxiety, depression, poor diabetic conditions, Sjogren’s syndrome, sleeping with open mouth, snoring etc.