Aids for Xerostomia
It is estimated that 30% of the population 65+ is likely to suffer with xerostomia and salivary gland hypofunction. Systemic conditions as well as local factors have been reported to impact xerostomic patients, placing them at a higher risk for plaque and caries due to a lower oral pH.81 Other complications of decreased salivary flow include persistent sore throat, difficulty speaking, hoarseness, and oral candidiasis. Various forms of salivary stimulants, including sugar-free chewing gum and candy, may help stimulate saliva if glands function properly. Specialized rinses, dentifrices, and liquid moisturizers are marketed to relieve symptoms and protect against xerostomic conditions.
Root caries is a growing concern among aging patients. In-office or take-home fluoride treatments often containing acidulated phosphate fluoride, neutral sodium fluoride, or stannous fluoride can be useful for these patients. Forms include gels, varnishes, pastes, rinses, or foaming solutions. Dental professionals may choose to treat high risk patients with a combination of in-office and at-home treatments.