What Can Cause Salivary Dysfunction?
Taking virtually any medication on a regular basis can create a salivary dysfunction problem, according to Dr. Michael Armijo, D.D.S. A dental implants specialist in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Dr. Armijo explains that a lack of salivary flow can lead to a host of other dental problems – including dry mouth, decay, and premature loss of tooth structure.
When it comes to treating patients with a lack of salivary flow, the real problem can be that many of these patients cannot go off of their prescription medications – even if those medications are the cause of their salivary dysfunction. Blood pressure medications, cold medications, and decongestants are all known to cause dry mouth. However, in many cases, taking those medications will take precedence over the salivary dysfunction problem, says Dr. Armijo.
What most people do not realize, however, is that salivary dysfunction can lead to much more than just dry mouth. According to Dr. Armijo, telling someone that he or she has a salivary dysfunction problem is the same thing as telling that person that he or she is cavity-prone. The drier a person’s mouth is, the more cavity prone he or she will be. Saliva serves a much more vital role in oral health than most adult patients realize. In a healthy human body, saliva is used to coat the teeth to keep the minerals in them. It also prevents the teeth from de-mineralizing.
As an interesting aside, Dr. Armijo explains that people who try combating their dry mouth problems by drinking lots of bottled water – in an attempt to keep their mouths moist – can still end up having decay issues, since bottled water does not have any fluoride in it. Research has shown that people who primarily drink bottled water are 60% to 70% more likely to get cavities than those who drink fluoridated tap water on a regular basis.
So what is a person who has a salivary dysfunction problem stemming from prescription medications supposed to do? According to Dr. Armijo, the best option is to be proactive and visit the dentist on a more regular basis. Instead of coming in once every six months for a checkup and cleaning, Dr. Armijo recommends visiting more frequently.
Because Dr. Armijo is an Albuquerque dental implants specialist who believes in taking a proactive and preventative approach to dentistry, he prefers catching cavities while they are small rather than waiting until they become more problematic. He also recommends occasional in-office fluoride treatments for anyone who is concerned about having a lack of saliva or a lack of fluoride in his or her diet.
*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.