CHICAGO, Aug. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Leading dental
and pharmacy organizations are teaming up to promote oral health
and raise public awareness of dry mouth, a side effect commonly
caused by taking prescription and over-the-counter medications.
More than 500 medications can contribute to oral dryness,
including antihistamines (for allergy or asthma), antihypertensive
medications (for blood pressure), decongestants, pain medications,
diuretics and antidepressants. In its most severe form, dry
mouth can lead to extensive tooth decay, mouth sores and oral
infections, particularly among the elderly.
Nearly half of all Americans regularly take at least one
prescription medication daily, including many that produce dry
mouth, and more than 90 percent of adults over age 65 do the same.
Because older adults frequently use one or more of these
medications, they are considered at significantly higher risk of
experiencing dry mouth.
The American Dental Association (ADA), Academy of General
Dentistry (AGD), American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and the
American Pharmacists Association (APhA) are collaborating to expand
awareness of the impact of medications on dry mouth, a condition
known to health professionals as xerostomia.
With regular saliva production, your teeth are constantly bathed
in a mineral-rich solution that helps keep your teeth strong and
resistant to decay. While saliva is essential for maintaining
oral health and quality of life, at least 25 million Americans have
inadequate salivary flow or composition, and lack the cleansing and
protective functions provided by this important fluid.
“Each day, a healthy adult normally produces around
one-and-a-half liters of saliva, making it easier to talk, swallow,
taste, digest food and perform other important functions that often
go unnoticed,” notes Dr. Fares Elias, president, Academy of General
Dentistry. “Those not producing ad