Tooth erosion can affect people of all ages. While dietary acids are the usual cause of tooth erosion in children and teenagers, as a person advances in years, reduced saliva production which comes naturally with age, can lead to more severe forms of erosion.
Reduced saliva production results also as a side effect of many medications taken for common conditions such as high blood pressure, depression, reflux, contraception and even migraines.
Saliva helps to protect against tooth erosion because it neutralises acids in foods and beverages. If saliva production is compromised, these acids have a greater opportunity to attack tooth enamel.
It is important to be informed of the possible side effects that your medication may have on your saliva production and to take measures to reduce the negative side effect caused by this such as:
- Avoiding foods and drinks which are acidic and can exacerbate a dry mouth e.g. caffeine, alcohol and carbonated soft drinks.
- Remaining hydrated by taking regular sips of water.
- Chewing sugar free gum which stimulates saliva flow and rinses acids away.
- Your dentist may recommend additional methods depending on your particular case e.g. a saliva substitute.
- Never stop taking a medication that you’ve been prescribed even if you suspect it is causing a dry mouth.
- Discuss medication side effects and options with your dentist and your prescribing doctor.
Dr Meerna Howley operates a dental practise in Sydney, Australia.
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