Wendy Parker, RDH
Dry Mouth…What Should I Do?
I know we live in a desert, but our mouths don’t have to BE a desert of dryness! The first step is to figure out where is the dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is coming from. There are several factors that can contribute to dry mouth including damage to the salivary glands, medications or medical conditions, and life style habits such as smoking, drinking, or alcohol or caffeine use. There are so many variables and sometimes it’s a combination of a couple of factors.
Often times, there is nothing you can do to reverse dry mouth, however, here are some of the things you can do to relieve the symptoms of dry mouth (1):
- Be sure to REGULARLY take sips of water throughout the day. Keep a water bottle with you at all times.
- Practice good Oral Hygiene – brushing 2x daily and flossing 1x daily. You can also use mouth rinses WITHOUT alcohol in them. The alcohol will dry out the mouth and makes symptoms worse.
- Avoid smoking
- Chew Sugar-Free gum or suck on Sugar-free lozenges
- Limit alcohol, caffeine, and sugar intake
There are several companies that provide products that aid in dry mouth relief. Some products and brands work well for some while others work better for others. It truly is a trial and error process to see what works best for you.
Biotene is one of the biggest companies that focus on relieving dry mouth. They have an array of products ranging from mouth rinses to chewing gum to saliva substitute. It is sold in several stores, including Target and Walgreens. Xylitol also has a variety of products that you can order including nose sprays, toothpastes, mints, and artificial sweeteners. (2) And of course, there are natural remedies that can help relieve symptoms as well. Here is a good website that has a variety of things you can try to see if they alleviate any discomfort. (3)
Dry mouth is NEVER easy to deal with, but hopefully with time and a little patience you’ll find something that will work for you. If you need more suggestions, please don’t hesitate to ask your hygienist or dentist for other solutions.
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