Dry Mouth – Xerostomia
Dry Mouth, the medical term is Xerostomia is not a disease. Xerostomia is a symptom,side effect of a medication or possibly an autoimmune disorder or other disease. Saliva is necessary for dental health, digestion and it may have immunological roles in humans (this research has yet to be published). Dry Mouth can lead to accelerated dental decay, digestive problems and possible weight loss issues.
There are hundreds of medications, both prescription and over the counter, that can cause or exacerbate xerostomia. Drugs used to treat depression, anxiety, pain, allergies and colds, high blood pressure, acne, asthma muscle relaxers and many more illnesses can cause dry mouth. Many of the popular medications prescribed today have a side effect of xerostomia. Patients undergoing cancer treatments, with autoimmune diseases can have xerostomia issues. Make sure you read the side effects of your medications as well as informing your dental hygienist and dentist of the medications you are taking.
There are many medical conditions that have xerostomia side affects: Sjogren's syndrome, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, stroke, Parkinson's disease, anemia, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis and many more. Damage to the salivary glands, the glands that produce saliva, can decrease saliva production. Patients that have radiation to the head and neck area can have xerostomia. Also, dehydration, nerve damage to head and neck due to surgery or injury can case symptoms of Dry Mouth.
Treatment of Xerostomia
Maintenance and oral comfort are the primary focus for patients with xerostomia. Also, the prevention of tooth decay should be taken into consideration for clients.
- Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candies. Try a sugar free gum or candy with xylitol
- Limit your caffeine intake. Caffeine can make your mouth drier.
- Don't use mouthwashes that contain alcohol because they can be drying.
- Stop all tobacco use if you smoke or chew tobacco.
- Sip water regularly.
- Try over-the-counter saliva substitutes Try Biotene Oral Balance, there are gels, rinses, and pastes.
- Avoid using over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants because they can make your symptoms worse.
- Breathe through your nose, not your mouth.
- Add moisture to the air at night with a room humidifier.
Saliva is important to maintaining the health of your teeth and mouth. If you frequently have a dry mouth, there are steps to protect your oral health may also help your condition.
- Avoid sugary or acidic foods and candies because they increase the risk of tooth decay.
- Brush with a fluoride toothpaste. Ask your dentist if you might benefit from prescription fluoride toothpaste.
- Use a fluoride rinse or brush-on fluoride gel before bedtime.
Something to consider would be a professional dental cleaning on a more frequent basis, every 3 – 4 months. This will help to decrease the amount of tarter on the teeth and around the gums. Any signs of tooth decay can be taken care of before the decay is so large the need for a root canal or extraction could be avoided. Also, the Dental Hygienist can apply a prescription fluoride to the teeth to also try and help prevent tooth decay.
Do you or do you know someone with Dry Mouth? Are you or they in need of a dental cleaning. Give Dental Fitness & Spa a call and schedule a dental cleaning today. (970) 214-8420