Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)


Cortney Davis, RDH

 

Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

            Xerostomia is a medical term meaning dry mouth due to the lack of saliva present in your mouth. Individuals that have a dry mouth don’t have enough saliva to keep their mouth moist. Saliva is important because it is a person’s primary defense against tooth decay and helps maintain the health of hard and soft tissue in the mouth. Saliva also is important because it washes away small food particles and debris that would sit on the teeth, has shown to protect against gum disease, helps carry minerals that help rebuild he enamel surfaces of teeth, and can also help neutralize acids in the mouth during and after eating.

What causes dry mouth? Dry mouth is a common side effect of many non-prescription and prescription drugs including drugs to treat anxiety, pain, allergies, colds, depression, etc.. Another common cause of dry mouth is side effects from certain medical treatments. Many people undergoing radiation to the head and neck and chemotherapy have damage to the salivary glands and it reduces the amount of saliva produced. The last common cause of dry mouth is from side effects from infections and diseases including but not limited to Sjorgrens Syndrome, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and strokes.

Common symptoms of dry mouth include; frequent thirst, a sticky dry feeling in the mouth, problems speaking, chewing and swallowing, bad breath, and a dry red tongue.

If you have dry mouth make sure you drink plenty of water every day to help stimulate saliva flow, talk to your healthcare provider to find the cause of your dry mouth and what your treatment options are, keep up good dental care by brushing and flossing and going to your dentist for routine check-ups, try over-the-counter saliva substitute’s containing xylitol, and try mouth washes and toothpaste designed for dry mouth such as Biotene.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://oralhealth.deltadental.com/Adult/GeneralInformation/22,DD205

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-mouth/expert-answers/dry-mouth/faq-20058424

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-health-dry-mouth#1

Advertisements

Dry Mouth…What Should I Do?

KO6A0979-Edit[1]

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)

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/home-remedies/home-remedies-for-dry-mouth1.htm

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.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

  1. https://www.biotene.com/dry-mouth-health-impacts/dry-mouth-relief/
  2. http://www.epicdental.com/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=xylitol-products
  3. http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/home-remedies/home-remedies-for-dry-mouth1.htm