What To Do When Your Medications Cause Dry Mouth

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When you start taking a new medication, you should always be on the lookout for side effects. One common side effect that occurs with many different types of medications is dry mouth. At first, dry mouth might seem like just a simple annoyance that you can ignore. However, chronic dry mouth can lead to serious dental issues, such as tooth decay and gum disease. Thus, it's important that you don't just ignore it. Follow these steps below to handle this common side effect properly.

Make sure your dry mouth is caused by medication.

Dry mouth can also be caused by lifestyle choices such as smoking and breathing through your mouth. To ensure your symptoms are, in fact, due to medication, look at the labels of the drugs you are taking. Do they list "dry mouth" as a side effect? If so, you can assume that your drugs are likely to blame for your issues. If dry mouth is not listed as a side effect of medications you are taking, you should schedule an appointment with your physician to ensure the root cause is detected and treated.

Common medications that cause dry mouth include:

  • Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications
  • Acne pills
  • Anti-seizure drugs
  • Asthma medications
  • Hypertension pills
  • Decongestants
  • Drugs for Parkinson's Disease

Talk to your doctor.

Call the physician who prescribed the medication that you think is causing dry mouth, and let him or her know that you're suffering this problem. Usually, this will not be seen as a cause to switch medications. You'll simply be told to take measures to manage your dry mouth while continuing to take your medication as directed. However,  in some cases, there may be another similar medication you can try that's less likely to cause dry mouth.

Take these steps to reduce your risk of dental issues due to dry mouth.

If your doctor suggests you keep taking your medication, you'll need to focus on managing your dry mouth so it does not lead to cavities and tooth decay. Make sure you're using a toothpaste that contains fluoride, since this mineral will strengthen your tooth enamel and help prevent cavities. Your dentist may also recommend that you use a fluoride rinse.

Make sure you tell your dentist that you suffer from dry mouth due to a medication. He or she may recommend a moisturizing gel or artificial saliva product that you can use to keep your mouth moist. You can also manage the problem by drinking water frequently during the day, sucking on sugar-free candies, and avoiding salty foods.

 Dry mouth may not seem like a big deal in terms of side effects. However, it's not one that you should ignore. Talk to your physician and a dentist at a clinic like Courtyard Dental Care about this issue, and make sure you're taking steps to actively prevent tooth decay and gum disease for as long as you continue to take your medication.