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There are many dental health problems that people can encounter throughout the course of their lives, and the majority of them are caused by poor dental care habits such as brushing and flossing incorrectly. However, there are some dental issues that may be the result of aging or certain medications that a person is taking. One of these oral problems is dry mouth, which can be caused by several types of prescription medications.
Dry mouth is no small problem, since saliva helps wash away food particles and harmful bacteria in the mouth. Without enough of it, people may find that they are experiencing bad breath or even tooth decay and gum disease. Recently, researchers from Granada and Murcia universities created a spray to help combat the effects of dry mouth caused by anti-depressant drugs.
All in a simple spray
The scientists explained that xerostomy (dry mouth) can be brought on by reduced salivary secretion or biochemical changes in the saliva itself. Along with possibly increasing the risks of tooth decay and gum disease, patients with xerostomy may experience problems chewing, speaking and swallowing.
"There are over 500 drugs, belonging to 42 pharmacological groups, which can provoke xerostomy as a side effect. Those that are most related are anti-depressants, the prescription of which has increased over recent years, thus leading to a higher number of patients with xerostomy from taking anti-depressive drugs, above all in 45-50 year olds," said lead study author Gerardo Gomez Moreno.
The researchers developed a sialogogue mouth spray containing 1 percent malic acid, which can be found in many sour or tart foods. They discovered that this spray was able to effectively combat dry mouth, even though the use of malic acid has often been rejected because of concern that it could harm the enamel of the teeth. However, the researchers said that if used in the right concentration, this acid may not harm the teeth.
Other ways to fight back
Other than this spray, there are other potential ways to combat dry mouth. For example, the Mayo Clinic states that staying hydrated and switching to an alcohol-free mouthwash may help reduce the effects of dry mouth and enhance saliva production. Furthermore, people who smoke should give up this unhealthy habit if they want to avoid experiencing the unpleasant effects of dry mouth. Finally, focusing on breathing through the nose rather than the mouth may help individuals avoid experiencing dry mouth.
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