Evidence shows that older Americans are at risk for greater oral health problems than other groups because of age and the inability to get to a dentistís office due to an existing medical condition or lack of transportation.
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Acupuncture is allowing some patients to relieve or significantly reduce dry mouth's debilitating effects, according to a report in the May/June 2005 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal.
Dry mouth (also known as xerostomia) is a painful condition caused by a decrease in the amount of saliva in the mouth when salivary glands do not work properly. Saliva is a natural defense for teeth and plays a major role in preventing tooth decay by rinsing away food particles and neutralizing harmful acids.
A decrease in saliva puts patients at risk for cavities, gum disease and discomfort, since foods that are consumed adhere to the teeth longer. Dry mouth can be caused by medications like antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants and diuretics and can often be treated by the dentist.
Reviewed: January 2012
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