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What Your Doctor Won't Tell You About Your Prescription Medications - Part 2

Missed part one?  You can read it by clicking here.

Dry mouth is a huge, but common, issue that we have to fight. We have to find the right products to help prevent cavities from happening underneath those crowns and bridges. We have to help avoid those expensive fixes for these problems. I don’t want you to have to go through the pain of a dental abscess. But if your mouth is so dry that your saliva’s natural cavity-fighting properties are not there, we’re going to have those problems.

You might ask, what can we do? What can we do to catch these problems while they’re small and manageable, and help prevent these bigger problems from happening? Luckily, there are somethings we can do to help. A lot of times for my patients, if you’re on five or more prescription medications that do cause dry mouth—and remember, 90% of all prescription drugs that are out there on the market do—we may recommend seeing you every three to four months instead of every six months. That way, if there is something small and we can identify it and catch it and fix it, we’re going to save you thousands of dollars. That’s one thing that we may recommend for you.

We may also recommend different types of toothpastes, mouthwashes, and maybe even some at-home, higher concentration fluoride treatments. I encourage you to bring in the toothpaste and mouthwashes you use. Sometimes mouthwashes that have a higher alcohol concentration can actually increase the dry mouth feeling and add to the decreased saliva flow in your mouth. I’m thinking about mouthwashes like Listerine that have that burn—that trademark Listerine burn is from a higher alcohol content in the mouthwash. Bring those products with you whenever you come to the dentist so that we can identify whether you should continue to use the products, or if it would be better to switch to another. We may have to do a little experimenting with some of the products you use on a daily basis until we find what works for you and your body, because no two bodies or chemistries are exactly the same.

Something else that we can do is give you the tools to take really good care of your teeth at home. An electric toothbrush is something that we recommend. Sonicare is a brand that we carry in our office, and that product is amazing. It basically does the work for you. For every single manual brushstroke you do with a regular toothbrush, the electric toothbrush does approximately one hundred. Why don’t we let the toothbrush help us out and do the hard work for us?

A Sonicare electric toothbrush is something that we recommend, as well as a Waterpik. I know people don’t like to floss, I know that it’s not fun. I know you hate to floss. I. Know. You. Hate. To. Floss! So Waterpik is great because it uses water and airpower to help blast food and bacteria out from in between your teeth. If you’re going to struggle with getting string floss in there—and a lot of people do struggle with it—let’s get a Waterpik. Let’s get the right tools to help you maintain your good health at home.

Whenever you come to my office, a professional fluoride treatment is going to be recommended for you. If you have dry mouth, you have quicker decay and lower natural defenses to cavities. Using fluoride is necessary to help re-strengthen that enamel and protect that junction between the natural tooth and a crown or bridge. It is incredibly important to prevent cavities from occurring under those crowns and bridges, because that’s one of the most expensive situations that you can encounter.

If you know anyone that is on multiple medications, if you have a loved one, a mother, father, aunt or uncle who is having some health issues, make sure that they see this article, because the last thing they want is a huge surprise at the dentist that is costly and time consuming. We’re here to help.

 

Dr. Cyndi Blalock is a general dentist practicing in St. Peters, MO.  Her office Cardinal Dental is known for redefining what a dental experience should be.  She is accepting new patients, and can be reached at 636-441-7440.