Pharmacists, dentists raise awareness of medication-related dry mouth

Pharmacy, dental professional groups team up to call attention to risks

CHICAGO — A lot of prescription and OTC medications carry the side effect of dry mouth, and while it usually is a mere nuisance that quickly passes, its severe forms can increase the risk of mouth sores, infections and tooth decay, especially among elderly patients.

Because of this, dentists and pharmacists are looking to raise awareness of medication-induced dry mouth, known by health professionals as xerostomia, in a campaign that brings together the American Pharmacists Association, the American Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Academy of Periodontology.

"Each day, a healthy adult normally produces around one-and-a-half liters of saliva, making it easier to talk, swallow, taste, digest food and perform other important functions that often go unnoticed," Academy of General Dentistry president Fares Elias said. "Those not producing adequate saliva may experience some common symptoms of dry mouth."

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