Xerostomia (Dry Mouth)

Lindsay RDH

Lindsay Olsen, RDH

Xerostomia (Dry Mouth)

  • Xerostomia (dry mouth) is a common side effect of many of the medications that are commonly prescribed to nursing home patients.
  • Saliva has antimicrobial properties as well as minerals that help defend tooth enamel against acid attacks from food, drinks, and decay-causing bacteria (US HHS, 2000).
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment are also contributors to xerostomia.
  • According to the Surgeon General report, LTCF residents are prescribed and average of eight drugs (US HHS, 2000).

Signs and Symptoms of Dry Mouth:

  • Dry, cracked lips
  • Thick or ropey saliva
  • Fissured tongue, burning feeling of tongue
  • No saliva pooling on the floor of the mouth
  • Examination gloves stick to the tongue or oral mucosa
  • Trouble chewing, swallowing, speaking
  • Increased need to drink water, especially at night
  • Bad breath
  • Denture pain
  • Bacterial infections
  • Dental decay
  • Increased plaque

Relieving Dry Mouth:

  • Sip on water or sugarless drinks, or suck on ice chips
  • Avoid irritants, such as alcohol, tobacco and caffeine
  • Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candy
  • Avoid salty or spicy foods
  • Use humidifier at night
  • Consider using saliva substitutes (Biotene, ACT fluoride rinse for dry mouth)

 

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Dental and

Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health. (2000). Oral health in 

America: A Report of the Surgeon General. Retrieved from

https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/datastatistics/surgeongeneral/report/executivesummary

.htm

US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Dental and

Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health. (2000). Oral health in 

America: A Report of the Surgeon General. Retrieved from

https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/datastatistics/surgeongeneral/report/executivesummary

.htm

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