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Dry mouth and dental care


Merrill
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Hi all -- I posted this note on the NDRF site also--I think this is an important topic, that hasn't gotten a lot of play (at least not lately).

I've just become aware that the dry mouth and eyes I suffer from is just another symptom of POTS. (Sheesh...) As a (retired) dentist's daughter, I want to share an important piece of information. It's MUCH easier for bacteria to grow in a dry mouth than a wet one, and people with dry mouth are much much much more at risk for cavities. PLEASE don't give up on yourself or your future dental health because you have poor checkups when you visit the dentist. Having the dry mouth associated with POTS is a reason for MORE frequent visits to the dentist rather than fewer.

Here are some suggestions: 1) rather than twice a year cleanings, go 4 times a year. (Don't stop reading--I know that sounds hideous because we already see so many doctors.)

2) Practice extraordinary oral hygiene--flossing & brushing. Have a seat on the toilet and take much more time with yourself than usual. You might try Gel-Cam, which is a flouride treatment you give yourself--it's like toothpaste; you just brush it into your teeth and gums. It's not a rinse, which I understand can be tough for some to take. (You may need your dentist to call a prescription into the pharmacy--I can't remember.)

3) Rinse with Gly-Oxide (find it in the dental care aisle of your grogery store). This is an oral antiseptic cleanser, and it's also fantastic for quickly healing an mouth cut or sore you may have.

4) Beware the lemonhead! It's true that sucking on sour candies can get the juices flowing again and doing this from time to time is probably OK. But if your oral hygiene isn't the best, the sugar will exacerbate the dry-mouth induced cavity problem. (My mother-in-law, who has had some salivery glands removed and suffers from extreme dry mouth, is addicted to lemonheads and she's about to lose all her teeth to decay. Trust me--you do NOT want this to happen to you!)

5) Talk to your dentist and/or physician about other ways you can treat this symptom. It can be both annoying and scary!

Staying hydrated may also be a key--as it is to everything, it seems. Carry water or juice or gatorade everywhere.

My tachycardia is horrible all the time--but sometimes I'm hyper-aware of it in the dentist chair. Being tilted backward when I'm already seated gets my heart racing out of control! But now that I know it's the POTS and not my nerves, I have him pre-adjust the chair. Somehow being able to control the way I sit and lean back helps...

Also be sure to work with the dentist to make the best anaesthetic choice for you. I'm blanking on the name of the one I use, but I can find out. There are short-acting, no-epinephrine options that will keep your heart in your chest and your mouth (brain?) out of pain. (You should NEVER be in pain in the dentist chair; it's not an option and it's non-negotiable in my book. And if your dentist doesn't seem willing or able to help you find the right solution, then FIND ANOTHER DENTIST who will! Can you tell I have strong feelings about this?)

All the best to everyone!

Merrill B)

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