- An infection of the lungs due to the inhalation of food, drink, plaque or other material.
- Occurs most often in people who have difficulty swallowing or controlling their gag reflex.
- Higher rates for adults who live in residential care and have poor oral hygiene.
- Good daily mouth care is important to prevent aspiration pneumonia for people who are at risk.
- The tooth surface is worn away by frequent exposure to acid eg; the acids in soft drinks or from the stomach when vomiting or regurgitating.
Dry mouth (xerostomia)
- Reduced saliva in the mouth.
- Antidepressants, antipsychotics and sedative medications have been linked to dry mouth and reduced saliva flow.
- Low saliva increases risk of tooth decay and gum disease
- There are products that can help with dry mouth – ask an oral health professional.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux disorder (GORD), rumination, regurgitation
- Gastro-oesophageal reflux disorder (GORD) occurs when the stomach contents (including stomach acid) move back up into the oesophagus and mouth.
- Rumination occurs when chewed food is brought back up into the mouth, chewed and swallowed again.
- These conditions can lead to dental erosion (tooth wear) because stomach acid comes into frequent contact with the teeth.
- People with these conditions should be monitored closely by a dental professional.
Gingival hyperplasia (enlarged gums)
- Gums are red and swollen.
- Can be a side effect of medications such as anticonvulsants (used in epilepsy) and immune system suppressants (used during organ transplant procedures).
- Seek the advice of an oral health professional.
Oral (mouth) cancer
- The most common oral sites are the lip and the tongue.
- Tobacco smoking and drinking alcohol are the major causes in Australia.
- Oral cancer is comparatively uncommon in Australia.
- A white patch, particularly on the side or under the tongue
- A visible lump that may or may not be painful
- an ulcer (sore) that won’t heal
- bleeding from a lump or ulcer
- ”Floating teeth” (teeth able to move up and down like piano keys)
- Swollen lymph glands
- A fungal infection.
- Looks like white patches in the mouth that can be wiped away.
- Can be caused by medications such as some antibiotics and steroids (e.g. asthma preventers).
- Poor daily mouth care can also lead to oral thrush.
- May be seen more often in people with an intellectual disability.
- Grinding can lead to tooth wear, gum disease and sometimes tooth loss.