Tribune Print Share Text

Dry mouth, constipation

Created date

November 20th, 2012

Q. As I get older, I notice my mouth is very dry. What s the best way to treat this problem?

A. It s normal to have a dry mouth once in a while. But if it happens frequently, it may mean that your salivary glands aren t working properly. Along with the discomfort, dry mouth can lead to tooth decay, mouth sores, or mouth infections. Many older adults experience this problem because of medication side effects or a disease process such as diabetes or Parkinson's. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help. You can try a humidifier at night or chew sugarless gum. Artificial saliva preparations and mouthwashes are also treatment options. Be sure to talk to your doctor resolving dry mouth may be as simple as a medication adjustment.

Q. I eat well and exercise every day, but I seem to get constipated more than once a week. Should I try an over-the-counter laxative? A. Constipation is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week. Everyone s frequency varies. Eating more high-fiber foods, drinking more water, and increasing your activity may all help; however, in those instances where constipation becomes uncomfortable, laxatives might be an option, but you need to consult with your doctor first. That s because there are several types of laxatives available and they all work differently. Some can interact with medications such as blood thinners, heart medicine, osteoporosis medicine, or antibiotics. Your doctor knows your medical history and will be able to recommend the best treatment for you. 

Barbara Morris, M.D.

Medical Director, Crest

Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Dr. Morris received her bachelor s degree from Brown University in Providence, R.I., and her medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in Rochester, N.Y. She completed her residency in family medicine at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. Board certified in family practice, Morris joined Wind Crest in June 2008.