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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Dr. Petty says the first goal in treatment of BMS is to make sure the symptoms are not due to a larger condition, such as anemia, leukemia, severe vitamin deficiency, undiagnosed diabetes or a fungal infection of the mouth. But these causes account for only 20 to 30 percent of those affected, says Dr. Petty.
In 70 percent of those affected with BMS, in which a cause cannot be established, a dentist can help. First, the dentist may recommend chewing gum, sugarless mints or frequent drinks of water to relieve the discomfort of dry mouth. Second, antifungal medications sometimes provide relief, even when there are no visible signs of a yeast infection in the mouth.
Reviewed: January 2012
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