Published: 06-07-2018 13:58 | Updated: 06-07-2018 13:58

Medications that cause dry mouth increase the risk for tooth loss in persons with dementia

Many medications have dry mouth as a side effect and the risk for dry mouth varies greatly with different medications. Saliva is important for talking, chewing, swallowing, and reducing the risk of tooth decay. This is particularly important for persons with dementia, who may have difficulties in telling others about their symptoms and accepting dental treatment.

Recently, we investigated the effect of taking medications known to cause dry mouth continuously for three years prior to being diagnosed with dementia. The study participants were registered in the Swedish Dementia Registry (SveDem) during 2007–2015, and we collected information on prescribed drugs and dental care from registers at the National Board of Health and Welfare. In total 34,037 persons were included in the analysis. We found that persons who took these medications had a higher risk for tooth loss during a follow-up time of three years. The risk increased with the number of medications taken concurrently.

We suggest that clinicians should carefully consider this effect when prescribing medications to persons with dementia.


This summary is from “The effect of xerostomic medication on oral health in persons with dementia”. It is published online ahead of print in the Journal of The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. The authors are Duangjai Lexomboon, Edwin CK Tan, Jonas Höijer, Sara Garcia-Ptacek, Maria Eriksdotter, Dorota Religa, Johan Fastbom, Kristina Johnell, Gunilla Sandborgh-Englund.