Maria Ambra, RDH
My mouth is always dry. What I can do?
Very often patients asked this question. They are concernedabout a condition called Xerostomia, in which the salivary glands in the mouth don’t make enough saliva. Saliva is a very important element for the health of our mouth; it is considered a buffer that neutralizes acids produced by bacteria and limitsbacterial growth. Saliva also increases the taste and its enzymes help the digestion. Its absence can increase plaque, tooth decay and gum disease.
Some of the symptoms associated with Xerostomia are:
Salivary glands not working properly may be the result of:
Medications: Antihistamine, decongestants, anxiety and hypertensive medications (blood pressure), muscle relaxants, urinary continence drugs, Parkinson’s disease meds, as well antidepressant.
Age: Older age can change the ability to process medications, or to have inadequate nutrition
Cancer Therapy: Radiations and Chemotherapy to the body especially head and neck can damage the salivary glands resulting in less saliva production
Nerve damage: an injury or surgery causing nerve damage to the head and neck area can result in dry mouth.
Tobacco: Chewing, smoking tobacco or vaping can increase the risk of dry mouth.
Other health conditions: Diabetes, stroke, autoimmune disease such as Sjogren’s syndrome, HIV/AIDS, also serious systemic disease, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoidarthritis scleroderma, sarcoidosis, amyloidosis,
Medications: If the dry mouth is caused by a particular medication, the doctor will either alter
the dosage or prescribe another drug which is less likely to cause dry mouth.
Stimulating saliva production: Medication may be prescribed to stimulate the production of saliva, such as pilocarpine (Salagen) or cevimeline (Evoxac).
OVER THE COUNTER SALIVA STIMULANTS: Saliva substitutes that contain xylitol, such as gums or mints, Spreyrain oral mist spray (Xlear), Biotine oral balance gel or rinse , Orbit sugar free gums, Trident gums with xylitol
FLUORIDE TREATMENT: To prevent cavities, fluoride traysmay be suggested, which will be fill with fluoride and wear overteeth at night. Also weekly use of rinses to control cavities may be recommended.
GOOD ORAL HYGIENE: Dentists or dental hygienist will reinforce the importance of regular brushing and flossing and may offer additional instructions regarding your daily oral hygiene. The ability to consistently accomplish these daily oral hygiene measures, as instructed, is one of the most important steps in successfully managing the complications of oral dryness.
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